Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Bliadhna mhath ùr airson 2012 - Happy New Year all for 2012.

I've had an enquiry from a reader in the US who wanted a definition for both Ne'erday and first-foot, as referred to in a previous post from the British Newspaper Archive. Ne'erday is a Scots word referring to New Year's Day, whilst first footing is a Scottish, Manx and northern English New Year's Day tradition - once the bells have gone at midnight, a resident of the house, who was not in the house when midnight struck, enters the house to bring good luck for the next year. Usually it has to be a tall, dark-haired male, and he is supposed to bring a gift also, such as a lump of coal or a bottle of whisky. According to there is a similar tradition in Greece.

My father's family were Scots, and in Northern Ireland as a kid I remember my father asking me to take a lump of coal up to my gran's house in the estate on which I lived, to first-foot her house for the new year. I had no idea at that stage as to what it was all about, and so I thought my poor gran had run out of coal - I thereby took a small bag of it up to her!

You live and learn...


1 comment:

  1. Yep, I remember this as a kid too, my dad was from Donegal and we did this every New Years Eve at midnight. We did coal (in the days when you could still get coal in London), whiskey and bread I think?