Daily Almanac for Monday, January 2, 2023

On this date in the 14th Century, today was proclaimed Handsel Monday in Scotland. This is the Flag of Scotland


In Scotland, Handsel Monday or Hansel Monday is the first Monday of the year. Traditionally, gifts (ScotsHansels) were given at this time.

Among the rural population of Scotland, Auld Hansel Monday, is traditionally celebrated on the first Monday after January 12. This custom reflects a reluctance to switch from the old (Julian) style calendar to the new (Gregorian) calendar.


The word “handsel” originates from old Saxon word which means “to deliver into the hand”. It refers to small tips and gifts of money given as a token of good luck, particularly at the beginning of something; the modern house-warming gift would be a good example. An 1825 glossary marks Handsel Monday as an occasion “when it is customary to make children and servants a present”. On this day, tips of small gifts were expected by servants, as well as by the postman, the deliverers of newspapers, scavengers, and all persons who wait upon the house.

In this respect it is somewhat similar to Boxing Day, which eventually supplanted it. If the handsel was a physical object rather than money, tradition said that the object could not be sharp, or it would “cut” the relationship between the giver and the recipient. The day is known in Scottish Gaelic as Diluain Traoighte (drained Monday).

The custom was also known as “handseling a purse”. A new purse would not be given to anyone without placing money in it for good luck.[6][failed verification] Money received during Handsel Monday is supposed to ensure monetary luck all for the rest of the year.

The period of festivities running from Christmas to Handsel Monday, including Hogmanay and Ne’erday, is known as the Daft Days.


Handsel Monday

According to Scottish custom, the first Monday of the new year was the time to give children and servants a small gift, or handsel. Literally something given into the hands of someone else, the gift itself was less important than the good luck it signified. The handsel was popular as a new year’s gift from the 14th to 19th centuries, but it also had a broader application to mark any new situation. It continues today in the form of a housewarming gift to someone moving into a new home.

Question of the Day

I have an old hibiscus tree indoors. It’s in a cool room and gets indirect sunlight. It now has started to drop leaves and hasn’t bloomed for months. I only water it when it gets dry. Do you think I need to repot it?

Our hunch is that your plant isn’t getting enough light. One half-day of direct sunlight from a bright east or south window is best for promoting flowering and keeping leaves green and healthy. Another problem could be insects. Check the bottom side of the leaves and the stem. Hibiscus will tolerate a broad range of temperatures (60°–90°F), but may not flower if too cool. Fertilize every other month with a fertilizer high in potassium (K). Vegetable fertilizers work well. Repotting certainly won’t hurt, but that probably isn’t the problem.—Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire

Advice of the Day

You should know a man seven years before you stir his fire.

Home Hint of the Day

Use peanut butter as bait for your mousetraps. You can reset the traps and catch several mice before you need to add bait.

Word of the Day


Pieces of old cable or old cordage, used for making gaskets, mats, swabs, etc., and when picked to pieces, forming oakum for filling the seams of ships.

Puzzle of the Day

Why did the lion spit out the clown?

Because he tasted funny.


  • Nathaniel Bacon (colonial leader) – 1647
  • Justin Winsor (historian) – 1831
  • Frederick Varley (Canadian artist) – 1881
  • Count Folke Bernadotte (Red Cross official) – 1895
  • Isaac Asimov (author) – 1920
  • Renata Tebaldi (opera singer) – 1922
  • Julius LaRosa (singer) – 1930
  • Roger Dean Miller (singer) – 1936
  • Jim Bakker (evangelist) – 1939
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. (actor) – 1968
  • Taye Diggs (actor) – 1972
  • Kate Bosworth (actress) – 1983


  • Bill Veeck (baseball player) – 1986
  • Pete Postlethwaite (actor) – 2011


  • Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fourth U.S. state – 1788
  • Alice Sanger became the first female staffer for the White House– 1890
  • Elara, a Moon of Jupiter, discovered– 1905
  • Willis H. Carrier patented an air conditioner– 1906
  • Japanese invaded and occupied Manila and the Philipines after a successful attack on Pearl Harbor– 1942
  • USSR’s Luna I was launched, becoming the first spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravity. Later, it became the first to reach the Moon’s vicinity and the first to orbit the Sun.– 1959
  • Fidel Castro and his followers captured Santiago, Cuba; Fulgencio Batista went into exile– 1959
  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commision charged seven record companies and eight distribution firms with paying disc-jockeys to play certain songs (Payola Incident)– 1960
  • General Lyman L. Lemnitzer became the supreme commander of NATO– 1963
  • The NY Jets signed quarterback Joe Namath for $427,000. At the time he was the highest paid player in pro football– 1965
  • Robert Clark was seated as the first African American legislator in Mississippi in 74 years– 1968
  • Kenneth Brugger and Cathy Aguado discovered first winter refuge of monarch butterflies, in Mexico– 1975
  • President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed the final version of the U.S.-Canadian trade accord. The pact provided for the elimination of tariffs on most goods within 10 years and created a series of binational groups to regulate the agreement– 1988
  • Explosion in a West Virginia coal mine that led to the death of 12 of 13 miners—Sago Mine disaster– 2006
  • On this date a numerically rare event occurred: 01-02-2010 expressed backwards as a date is precisely 01-02-2010– 2010
  • 28-lb. 13-oz. tautog caught, Ocean City, Md. – 2015


  • Fourteen degrees F on Haleakala summit, Hawaii– 1876
  • Little Rock, Arkansas, received 13 inches of snow in 24 hours– 1893
  • A severe snowstorm began in New England. The Blue Hill observatory in Milton, Massachusetts, had 19 inches of snow in 24 hours.– 1904
  • Hawaii experienced one of its lowest temperatures on record, 14 degrees F, on Haleakala summit– 1961
  • Nor’easter flooded the East Coast– 1987

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