The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87654   Message #1639440
Posted By: Liz the Squeak
02-Jan-06 - 05:57 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
Subject: RE: Folklore: Good Luck for the New Year
First Footers should not be blonde haired, flat footed, female or lame, blind in one eye, have splayed feet, eyebrows that met in the middle or be carrying anything a knife or anything sharp. They should not be immoral, nor sanctimonious or mean either. They were supposed to carry:

Bread (or local equivalent; bannock or barm cake) so you may never be hungry in the following year.

Silver (or a coin) so you may never be poor.

Fuel - coal or wood, so you may never be cold.

And whiskey (cider or water in other areas) so you may never be sober (or thirsty).

I don't remember much about New Years Eve when I was little, but I do remember that when we got up for breakfast on the 1st, there was always a piece of bread soaking in a small mug of cider on the table which was then fed to the bull before we ate our breakfast. Presumably it was to encourage his own 'contribution' in the following year. It was the only time the front door was ever opened (we used the kitchen door on a daily basis) other than for weddings and funerals, and that was so the New Year could be allowed in, the old being shooed out the back door. If it had been particularly bad, the old year was 'encouraged' out by beating on pans with wooden spoons, similar to 'rough musick' or 'skimmity ridding'.

The month January was named after Janus, the two faced god. One face looked backwards and the other looked forwards. Perhaps that's why we get all those interminable 'Review of' and 'Best ever' list programmes all through Christmas week and beyond.

New Years day has only had a Bank Holiday in England since 1972.