December 31st—New Year’s Eve

Engraving showing the custom of First Footing

First Footing

The first person to set foot into your house needs to be a ‘Tall, well-made man’. Dark-haired men are preferred to fair-haired, but he must not be dressed in black, nor be from the ‘professions’ (those people who can counter-sign your passport). He must not carry a knife, but he must bring gifts, particularly a loaf of bread, a bottle of whisky, a piece of coal or wood, and a silver coin. Silence is to welcome him to the house until he puts the coal on the fire, pours a glass of the whisky and greets the family. He will bring in the luck through the front door on the stroke of midnight; the bread symbolising that you will be well-fed, the fuel that you will be warm and safe, the whisky that you will have fun and the coin will bring prosperity. Your first-footer will take the old year and its bad-luck out of the back door when he leaves.

The weather today will be reflected on the 7th month—so July will start gloomy and with rain, but it will also be warm.

Or as a Scottish Rhyme has it (quoted in the Perpetual Almanac)

If New Year’s Eve night-wind blow south
That betokens warmth and growth
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea
If North, much cold and storms will be
If east, the tress will bear much fruit.
If north-east, flee it, man and brute,

The wind is currently south-west, so it would seem we are in for a year of warmth and growth, with much milk and fish in the sea.


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