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Etrennes

(2 syl.). New-year's gifts are so called in France. Strenia, the Roman goddess, had the superintendence of new-year's gifts, which the Romans called strenæ. Tatius entered Rome on New-year's Day, and received from some augurs palms cut from the sacred grove, dedicated to the goddess Strenia. Having succeeded, he ordained that the 1st of January should be celebrated by gifts to be called strenæ, consisting of figs, dates, and honey; and that no word of ill omen should be uttered on that day

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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