First-Foot


First-Foot

First-Footing, in British folklore, especially that of the north and Scotland, is the first person who crosses the threshold after midnight at the end of New Year's Eve (in other words, the first person to enter the house on New Year's Day). [cite book |last=Simpson |first=Jacqueline |coauthors=Steve Roud |title=A dictionary of English Folklore |year=2000 |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=0-19-210019-X] 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.

Good luck is believed to be brought to the house by the First-Foot, and a female First-Foot is regarded with dread. In Lancashire a light-haired man is as unlucky as a woman, and it became a custom for a dark-haired male to be the one and only first-foot. In Worcestershire luck is ensured by stopping the first carol-singer who appears and leading him through the house. In Yorkshire it must always be a male who enters the house first, but his fairness is no objection.

The first-foot usually brings a gift of coal and salt. In the North they bring coal, a drink (usually Whisky) and should have some money in their pocket. The coal representing "warmth" for the year ahead and the salt representing "flavour". A drink is to offer the host, and money is to bring wealth and happiness to the house. Often bread is regarded as a good sign, indicating that the household won't go hungry in the year to come. In Scotland first-footing was always more elaborate than in England, involving a subsequent entertainment.

Also in Greek culture, first-foot has a significant place among Christmas customs. Thus, it is believed that the first person to enter the house on New Year's Eve brings either good luck or bad luck. Many households to this day keep this tradition and specially select who enters first into the house. After the first-foot, also called "podariko" from "podi" which means foot, the lady of the house serves the guests with Christmas treats to ensure that good luck will come in the New Year.

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • first-foot — ► VERB ▪ be the first person to cross someone s threshold in the New Year. ► NOUN ▪ the first person to cross a threshold in such a way. DERIVATIVES first footer noun …   English terms dictionary

  • first-foot — /ferrst foot /, Scot. n. Also, first footer. 1. the first person to cross the threshold of a house on New Year s Day. 2. the first person met after starting out on the day of an important occasion. v.t. 3. to enter (a house) first on New Year s… …   Useful english dictionary

  • first-foot — /fɜst ˈfʊt/ (say ferst foot) Scottish –verb (t) 1. to enter (a house) first on New Year s Day. –verb (i) 2. to be the first to enter a house on New Year s Day. 3. to go round making visits as a first foot. –first footing, noun …   Australian English dictionary

  • first-foot — /ferrst foot /, Scot. n. Also, first footer. 1. the first person to cross the threshold of a house on New Year s Day. 2. the first person met after starting out on the day of an important occasion. v.t. 3. to enter (a house) first on New Year s… …   Universalium

  • first foot — /fɜst ˈfʊt/ (say ferst foot) noun Scottish the first person to enter a house on New Year s Day, traditionally an omen for the householder. Also, first footer …   Australian English dictionary

  • first-foot — verb [usu. as noun first footing] be the first person to cross someone s threshold in the New Year. noun the first person to cross a threshold in such a way. Derivatives first footer noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • first-foot — North Country (Newcastle) Words the name given to the person who first enters a dwelling house on New Year s Day …   English dialects glossary

  • first — first; first·foot·er; first·ling; first·ly; first·ness; …   English syllables

  • first-footer — first foot ► VERB ▪ be the first person to cross someone s threshold in the New Year. ► NOUN ▪ the first person to cross a threshold in such a way. DERIVATIVES first footer noun …   English terms dictionary

  • first-footer — firstˈ footˈer noun • • • Main Entry: ↑first * * * ˌfirst ˈfooter ; noun Main entry: ↑first footderived …   Useful english dictionary


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