First footing into 2012

Sunday, 1 January, 2012

Happy New Year! The custom known as “first footing” dictates that the first person to cross the threshold of a home after midnight on New Year’s Eve will determine the homeowner’s luck for the new year. The ideal visitor bears gifts — preferably whiskey, coal for the fire, small cakes or a coin.

Note: 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 in to the same house is not considered to be first-footing). By the way, the first-foot is traditionally a tall, dark-haired male; a fair-haired male is regarded as unlucky. Why? The answer hearkens back to the 8th century, when the fair-haired Vikings invaded the British Isles: a blond night visitor was not a good omen back then.

Carefully into the New Year

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