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first footing

Posted by Lewis on October 14, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Does anyone know meaning posted by Bruce Kahl on October 14, 2004

: : Someone I know added this to the bottom of an email. Does anyone know the meaning. "Im your fifteen stone first footer".

: : Mark

: From http://www.faqs.org/faqs/

: "First-footer is a Scottish term relating to the New Year (Hogmanay). A first-footer is a person who is the first person to enter your house on
: January 1st. That persons would be about 15 stone (which is 15 * 14 = 210 pounds). When this person comes into your house, you must give him all the food he/she wants! In other words, after The Bells (midnight on 31 December) you have to ensure that your "first footer" is a tall person who should be carrying a small lump of coal, which would traditionally go onto
: your fire (remember it's cold and dark at New Year in Scotland!). The early hours of 1 January are traditionally spent going from house to house in your neighbourhood visiting people and welcoming in the New Year
: (drinking!)."

The friends I used to spend NYE with when I was a teenager were from Gateshead, so we used to do all that first-footing business. Borders, you see - blurred English/Scottish cultural boundaries.

I even sometimes do it at home - taking a (carved)piece of coal out, knocking at the door and bringing it back in when the missus (a Geordie by upbringing) lets me in. Obviously I am then allowed a wee dram.

it is a good ritual when you are with friends - very sociable. the key elements are outside - coal - inside - malt.