Did you know that after midnight, it’s bad luck for anyone to leave the house before someone enters it? That’s because the “first footer” – whomever enters your home in the New Year first – is said to influence your luck for the next twelve months. This belief in the importance of the "first footer" is found in a surprising number of cultures all over the globe!
In the British Isles, it was considered very bad luck for your first visitor to be a woman. And a blonde-haired man was too much like the Viking invaders of old. Certain people were shunned as "first footers" - people with red hair, doctors, ministers, thieves, grave-diggers, anyone with crossed eyes or flat feet, or someone whose eyebrows meet in the middle of their forehead (thought to be a sign of being a werewolf!). Such visitors wouldn't be allowed in and might even be shooed away!
In Ireland, for optimum good luck, a dark-haired man should be first through the door. If he’s handsome and single, so much the better. And it’s really lucky if he arrives on a horse! The man should bring symbolic gifts – some coins, a loaf of bread, a lump of coal for the fire, a branch of evergreen and salt. Ideally, the man will make his way through the house and leave by a different door.
In Vietnam, the first person through the door influences the family's fortune for the year. A person of great prestige, success or integrity is sought to be the first footer. No one visits a house uninvited at New Year's!
In most countries with a first footer tradition, no one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives, not even to take out the garbage! It's important for the very first traffic across the threshold to be headed IN rather than OUT. The symbolism is obvious - it's desirable for people and prosperity to flow towards your home during the year to come.
My favorite tradition is said to come from the southern United States. The sex of the first visitor through the door doesn't influence luck, but instead is said to shape the balance of power in a marriage for the coming year. If a man enters, then the husband will have more power. If it's a woman, the wife will be the more powerful partner. Myself, I think I'd settle for a happily married couple to step over the threshold at the same time!
Here's the fun part. From Dec 30 to Jan 3, it's the
"Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop ".
CONTEST IS NOW CLOSEDA winner has been drawn -
a signed copy of
CHANGELING MOON by Dani Harper and
a tote bag to put it in!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to visit my blog and share their traditions. Warm and wonderful wishes to all of you for 2012!
The complete list of all participating blogs in this hop can be found on this page: http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/2011/11/happy-new-year-2012-giveaway-hop-sign.html