I don’t know whence these traditions emanated, but they’re kind of humorous. They have to do with who should be the first to enter your house on Jan. 1, and what should never leave the house on New Year’s Day.
First, there’s a tradition called “First Footing” that has to do with who enters your home after the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1. The most auspicious person should be tall, dark (hair) and handsome. He should come bearing a small gift – a lump of coal, a silver coin, perhaps a sprig of green, maybe some bread. Oh, and he should bring some salt too.
Reject female “first footers.” Reject any blonds, blondes, or redheads. He or she should not be cross-eyed, have flat feet, or even eyebrows that meet in the middle. The article I read said to do this at all costs, even aiming a gun at them to chase them off … at least until a man crosses the threshold.
Don’t let the first footer use a key. He should knock and someone should let him in. Once he’s in and distributed his tokens, he should pass through the house and exit by another door. And, before he arrives, no one should leave the house.
If you want to ensure the right person becomes the first footer, have someone already waiting outside the door until the clock strikes midnight. Then, let him in.
Okay, now … on New Year’s Day, no one and nothing (absolutely NOTHING) must leave the house. Got garbage? Leave it inside. Gotta deliver New Year’s gifts? Leave them in the car overnight. Don’t take party empties out to the recycle bin. Do it the next day.
Stuff coming in is okay. Place it in a basket or box outside the door, then on New Year’s Day, pull it in, making sure no part of your body breaks the plane of the threshold.
There are those who say it’s okay to remove something from the house IF something is brought in first.
And that’s the way it’s going to be (or is it?) on Jan. 1, 2012. I kid you not.