Dated: 2nd January 1967.
I whish you all, followers and visitors of my blog, a Happy New Year with this old verse from 1937:
After the old year has gone,
The New Year is to come.
Only a few hours and that day will be,
With my best wishes I greet thee.
We’ve met the chimney sweep yesterday. He is bringing good luck here as a first-footer.
In Scottish and Northern English folklore, the first-foot, also known in Manx Gaelic as quaaltagh or qualtagh, is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day and a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.
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). The first-foot is traditionally a tall, dark-haired male. A female or fair-haired male however are in some places regarded as unlucky. 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 several gifts, including perhaps a coin, bread, salt, coal, or a drink (usually whisky), which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, and good cheer. In Scotland, first-footing has traditionally been more elaborate than in England, and involving subsequent entertainment.
The first footer (sometimes called the Lucky Bird) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives, the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.