HAPPY NEW YEAR ~ First Footings
January 1, 2018
Every New Year we go to a neighbors house, when we leave, Dave gives us our first footings. First footings is a Scottish tradition.
In Scottish and Northern English folklore, the first-foot, also known in Manx Gaelic as quaaltagh or qualtagh, is the first person to enter the home of a household on New Year's Day and a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.
Although it is acceptable in many places for the first-footer to be a resident of the house, they must not be in the house at the stroke of midnight in order to first-foot (thus going out of the house after midnight and then coming back into the same house is not considered to be first-footing). It is said to be desirable for the first-foot to be a tall, dark-haired male; a female or fair-haired male are in some places regarded as unlucky. In Worcestershire, luck is ensured by stopping the first carol singer who appears and leading him through the house. In Yorkshire it must always be a male who enters the house first, but his fairness is no objection.
The first-foot usually brings several gifts, including perhaps a coin (silver is considered good luck), bread, salt, coal, evergreen, and/or a drink (usually whisky), which represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, long-life, and good cheer respectively. In Scotland, first-footing has traditionally been more elaborate than in England and involving subsequent entertainment.