Is it Bad Luck to Wash Clothes on Christmas Day Unraveling the Superstitions

Is it Bad Luck to Wash Clothes on Christmas Day? Unraveling the Superstitions

Christmas is a time full of cheer, gatherings, delicious food, and quality time with loved ones. However, it seems many superstitions and beliefs are also packed into the holiday season. One of them is is it bad luck to wash clothes on christmas day.

One such superstition warns us not to wash clothes on Christmas day or risk inviting bad luck for the coming year! Where does this belief come from and is there any truth to it? Let’s unravel some Christmas laundry superstitions.

Common Christmas Clothes Washing Superstitions

  • Washing clothes on Christmas day may bring your household bad luck for the next 12 months
  • It can ‘wash away’ luck for the coming year
  • It may anger the Chinese ‘Water God’ and sour your luck
  • You could end up ‘washing a loved one away

These are just a few of the ominous old wives tales told about laundering clothes over the festive season. But how did these stories originate?

When Did These Christmas Laundry Superstitions Emerge?

While the exact origins are unclear, many Christmas superstitions can be traced back centuries to pagan winter solstice celebrations.

  • Some emerged in Victorian times
  • Others derive from European Yule or Nordic Winter Solstice traditions
  • Some reference the Chinese Water God – drawing on Eastern traditions
  • A few reference biblical events, like washing on Good Friday

The common theme appears to be the symbolic act of washing away the old and welcoming the new – a ritual many ancient cultures focused on between the winter solstice and New Year.

Let’s explore some of the notable background to Christmas laundry superstitions:

Notable History Behind Christmas Clothes Washing Beliefs

  • Pagan winter solstice rituals – centering on metaphorically clearing away the past year and removing ‘dirt’ before starting anew
  • Association with baptisms – washing clothes seen as an imitation of holy water cleansing rituals
  • Chinese Water God Birthdays – Laundering supposedly angers the god of water, bringing bad fortune
  • Cleansing biblical references – such as not washing on Good Friday when Christ was crucified

So is there any merit to avoiding laundry over the festive season? Should we let dirty clothes pile up to dodge fortune’s blows?

Is it Bad Luck to Wash Clothes on Christmas Day?

Ah, Christmas. A time for family, feasting, and… laundry? The festive season can be surprisingly messy, leaving many wondering: is it bad luck to wash clothes on Christmas Day?

The answer, like most things in life, isn’t as simple as a black and white “yes” or “no.” It’s a tangled yarn of superstitions, cultural traditions, and practical considerations. Let’s untangle this thread and see what we find.

Superstitious Suds:

Across various cultures, there are whispers of misfortune surrounding laundry on Christmas Day. Some believe it washes away good luck for the coming year, while others fear it could symbolically “wash away” loved ones. In some European countries, the superstition extends to the entire period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, making those festive days laundry-free zones.

Cultural Crossroads:

These superstitions often stem from ancient beliefs about cleanliness and purity. Washing clothes was seen as a way to cleanse not just garments, but also one’s energy and fortune. On a celebratory day like Christmas, dedicated to joy and togetherness, disturbing this flow of positive energy through laundry was considered unwise.

Practical Ponderings:

But let’s face it, Christmas can be messy! From spilled eggnog to overflowing trash cans, sometimes laundry is inevitable. And honestly, who wants to spend New Year’s Eve surrounded by dirty laundry mountains?

Here’s where practicality kicks in. While respecting cultural traditions and personal beliefs is important, remember, there’s no hard and fast rule against washing clothes on Christmas Day. If your laundry basket is overflowing and your sanity is at stake, feel free to throw on a load! Just avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as these could be seen as symbolically “scrubbing away” good fortune.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to wash clothes on Christmas Day is a personal one. Weigh your cultural background, superstitious leanings, and practical needs to find what feels right for you.

Here are some additional tips for navigating laundry during the holidays:

  • Plan ahead: Do your laundry in the days leading up to Christmas to minimize the need for washing on the big day.
  • Delegate: If you have guests, ask them to help with laundry or throw in a light load themselves.
  • Use eco-friendly options: Opt for gentle detergents and air drying to minimize your environmental impact.
  • Make it festive: Play Christmas carols while doing laundry or string up some fairy lights around your washing machine to add a touch of cheer.

Remember, the most important thing on Christmas Day is to enjoy the company of loved ones and create lasting memories. Whether your laundry basket is overflowing or spotless, focus on the joy of the season and let the good times roll (even if they’re accompanied by a spin cycle).

So, is it bad luck to wash clothes on Christmas Day? The answer lies not in the washing machine but within your own beliefs and traditions. Respect your heritage, embrace practicality, and most importantly, have a happy and laundry-free (or not) Christmas!

Does Washing Clothes at Christmas Really Invite Misfortune?

While the backstories provide insight, they also highlight the irrationality of most Christmas laundry lore. The connections to luck, fortune and stopping calamity seem highly spurious.

A few reflective questions on the topic:

  • Does water truly have power to wash away abstract concepts like luck?
  • Do the cosmic forces of fortune care if you do household chores on key calendar dates?
  • Is it logical our fate next year depends on not cleaning clothes over Christmas?
  • Does washing a red sock versus a blue sock change metaphysical outcomes?

When we stop and think rationally, these superstitions make little sense.

So if you’ve hesitated over threading up a wash cycle recently wondering “is it bad luck to wash clothes on Christmas day?”, fret not! Go ahead and clean those clothes guilt-free.

When Did Washing Clothes on New Year’s Day Become Bad Luck?

Speaking of festive season laundry lore – similar superstitions surround New Year’s Day too. But just when did January 1 become a forbidden clothes-cleaning event?

The consensus points largely to Victorian era traditions once again.

As the Christmas period drew to a close and New Year neared, households were discouraged from washing around this date too. Two key reasons drove this:

  • ‘Washing away luck’ – Victorians also feared laundering during the 1-12 January period would clean away good fortune for the coming year
  • No working on ‘Hogmanay’ – This old Scots word for New Year’s Eve meant hard labor like laundering was taboo on these days too

So the New Year lore echoes much earlier winter solstice superstitions.

Thankfully society has advanced enough that no one assumes fate cares whether we run the laundry cycle in January or not!

Now we understand the origins better, let’s explore why these winter solstice and New Year superstitions likely began, and their meaning.

The Symbolism and Meaning Behind Festive Season Laundry Lore

It’s easy to dismiss Christmas and New Year’s laundry superstitions today, but they represent meaningful traditions for our ancestors.

What meaning did avoiding laundry hold over winter solstice and New Year for early cultures?

Some of the key symbolic interpretations include:

Winter Solstice Renewal Theme

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year – interpreted by pagans as the ‘death’ and gradual reawakening of the sun.

Early cultures took this as a sign to symbolically clear away the past and ‘renew’ themselves spiritually in preparation for brighter days ahead.

Avoiding laundry reflected clearing oneself of the ‘dirt’ of the past year. A symbolic act linked to the solar cycle.

Clearing Space for the New Year

Culturally, New Year period is viewed as a transition phase – a time for releasing old baggage to make space for new things ahead.

So abstaining from laundry over this period mirrors clearing space on a symbolic level. Out with old, in with the new.

Warding Off Transitional Chaos

Societally, seasonal transition points foster uncertainty and chaos as the status quo changes.

Early cultures were wary of inciting further unrest through bold actions – like doing laundry! Abstaining maintained harmony with the seasonal shift.

Celebrating Stillness & Contemplation

Finally, solstice and New Year celebrations historically emphasized quietness, inward focus and contemplation.

Pausing household duties reflected joining this state of stillness – and avoiding outward disruption during a key spiritual passage for communities.

So while the superstitions themselves don’t hold water today, we can see they represented purposeful traditions for early cultures navigating ambiguous transitional periods.

They aimed to smooth out the chaos, clear space for rebirth and align communities through symbolic acts like forgoing chores.


Let’s round up some common queries folks have about washing clothes over the Christmas and New Year period.

Should you avoid laundry on Christmas Eve or Day?

No – It’s perfectly safe to wash clothes over Christmas without fear of metaphysical reprisal!

Is it bad luck to wash on New Year’s Eve or Day?

Nope! Despite the old wives’ tales, laundering clothes over New Year won’t jeopardize your 2024 fortunes in any way.

When exactly is it considered bad luck to wash clothes?

These days – no time at all! Some outdated superstitions target Good Friday, Halloween, start of Chinese New Year and major religious festival days too.

Will hand washing or machine washing clothes make any difference?

Not to your luck next year – do laundry how you please! Though hand-washing is more eco-friendly if that concerns you.

Who decides or determines washing days that bring bad luck?

Historically superstitious beliefs around laundering emerged organically from early pagan rituals and have endured culturally. But there is no formal body governing lucky or unlucky laundry days.

Where did winter solstice laundry folklore originate?

Most historians believe the rituals emerged in Europe among pagan and early Christian communities and have Murky origins. They likely symbolized spiritual cleansing.

Is it just clothing washing that carries bad luck – or all laundry?

Superstitions target clothes washing specifically rather than household linen laundry. But it’s all folklore either way!

Are there ways to negate the bad luck of washing clothes at Christmas?

There’s no need! But if you remain superstitious: opening doors/windows to ‘let the bad spirits out’, keeping company while washing, saying prayers and adding salt to the wash water have been recommended.

Will washing clothes on Christmas day impact my 2024 luck?

Almost certainly not! Lighten up, save those coins at the fortune teller and scrub away the holiday season stains regardless.

So there you have it! We’ve unpacked the history, assumptions and symbolism around festive season clothing laundry lore.

Hopefully this gives you confidence to do those neglected laundry loads – no matter the date on the calendar!

Now over to you – how do you approach laundry over the holidays? Do any family superstitions or habits influence your seasonal washing routine? Let me know in the comments!

Similar Posts