HISTORY TIDBIT: FIRST FOOTING

New Year, or Hogmanay, is a big deal in Scotland, and the celebration of it isn’t confined to toasting its arrival with ‘a wee dram’ and singing “Auld lang Syne” as January 1st rolls in. Seeking good luck for the coming year, people want their first footer (the first person to cross their threshold after midnight) to be dark-haired, and preferably male. Regardless of whether that happens on January 1st or whichever subsequent day the first visitor of the year shows up. The luck associated with this is thought to come from the days of Viking invasions. You know, those big, tall, blond laddies the Scots (and other Brits) were not happy to find standing on their doorsteps.

(I’m half Scottish, so this was ‘a thing’ in our house, both in England and in Canada. Being blond, my father was not welcome as a ‘first footer’ unless he was carrying a piece of coal or some other object designed to offset that blondness, and he always made sure the first person though our door was a dark-haired man or boy, something one of my brothers was suited to. Do you suppose it still counts now his hair is grey?)

https://www.scottish-at-heart.com/hogmanay-customs.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/12/scotlands-first-footing-new-years-tradition-explained.html

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