Friday, December 31, 2010

First Foot Your Way Into a New Year

As midnight looms Auld Lang Syne, credited to Scottish poet Robert Burns, is sung by all. The song, with its universal appeal, has been adopted by people around the world as a way to bid a fond farewell to the old and welcome the new with open arms. Kiss your friends, hug strangers, and shake the hand of your enemy, all while sharing toasts with whisky.

And now the real party begins with first-footing!

First-footing takes place in Scotland and by some in northern England - we do it where my cutie comes from. It's a custom that has been around for a long time. Roots to this tradition go asfar back as the Viking invasions and have changed little. How it works is that the first person to enter a home after midnight has passed, should be male with dark hair and carrying tokens cementing good luck for the residents. A lump of coal, whisky and an oat cake are the most common gifts to offer and in return, uisge beatha, water of life (whisky), and food are shared, and then leave by the back door.

Sound fun? It is because throughout the night, as long as the chilled limbs can move, and one more dram can be shared, first-footing continues, house to house, party to party.

So, how about you?

Do you or your family have any traditions attached to New Years that have been going on for donkey's years?

Have a good and safe holiday!

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