First Footing

I have many plans for this year, and in order to give myself as much support as possible, I adhered–as best as I could–to the Scottish New Year’s tradition of “first footing”.  According to this custom, whoever enters a house first upon the New Year determines its fortune in the coming months, and the preferable “first footer” is a tall dark man. All women are (of course) unlucky, and fair-haired men equally so, perhaps out of a long-held fear of Viking invaders.  Unfortunately for my household, only two people were in a position of entry after midnight last night:  myself (a woman) and my husband (a fair-haired man, of Swedish descent, even more problematic).  My stepson is not with us for this weekend, and as he’s equally fair-haired he would not be much help.  I thought of pushing some dark-haired neighbor over the doorstep at midnight (this is no doubt what the Scots do), but instead decided to over-compensate with the lucky gifts that the first-footer should bring into the house:  bread (or the alternative shortbread or fruitcake), whiskey, coal, salt, and coins.  Just one of these gifts should suffice, but I fixed up a basket with all of them for extra luck, and we carried it over the doorstep when we came back from our New Year’s Eve party.

Hope it works!  Good luck to everyone in the New Year.

6 responses to “First Footing

  • ceciliag

    I had forgotton about this tradition! If I had remembered – I do have a young tall dark haired man who i could have made use of.. ah well.. of course it was me going out to the barn and back. ah well. I hope you had a lovely party.. and Happy New Year.. c

  • Thoughts on Design

    Wonderful tradition. Sally brings the southern tradition of serving black eyed peas as part of the Christmas Day dinner. We consumed them in large quatities… 🙂


  • Bernadette

    I think we are doomed here, as everyone who came into my house last night after being in the city for the celebrations, was blond, male blonds, and female blonds! Nice tradition!

  • Art & History

    We do the black eyed peas dish, called Hoppin’ John, for luck, served with collard greens, for money. The trouble with hearing about other holiday traditions “with consequences” is that one wonders…

  • Lynn

    It made me (short, dark half-Scot, female) distinctly uncomfortable to be the first visiter of the year to an elderly neighbor. Her heritage is Italian, though, so I crossed my fingers (not sure why I thought that made it ok!), knocked and went inside. I didn’t tell her about it, but it’s a relief to tell someone.

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