First-Foot - Encyclopedia

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FIRST-FOOT, in British folklore, especially that of the north and Scotland, the first person who crosses the threshold on Christmas or New Year's Eve. Good or ill luck is believed to be brought the house by First-Foot, and a female First-Foot is regarded with dread. In Lancashire a light-haired man is as unlucky as a woman, and it became a custom for dark-haired males to hire themselves out to "take the New Year in." In Worcestershire luck is ensured by stopping the first carol-singer who appears and leading him through the house. In Yorkshire it must always be a male who enters the house first, but his fairness is no objection. In Scotland first-footing was always more elaborate than in England, involving a subsequent entertainment.

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