Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve

The Door Custom
In the old days, the New Year started with a custom called 'first footing', which was suppose to bring good luck to people for the coming year. As soon as midnight had passed and January 1st had started, people would wait behind their doors for a dark haired man to arrive. The visitor carried a piece of coal, some bread, some money and some greenery. These were all for good luck - the coal to make sure that the house would always be warm, the bread to make sure everyone in the house would have enough food to eat, money so that they would have enough money, and the greenery to make sure that they had a long life. The visitor would then take a pan of dust or ashes out of the house with him, thus signifying the departure of the old year.

It is acceptable in many places for the first-footer to be a resident of the house, but they must not be in the house at the stroke of midnight in order to first-foot.