First Footing

New Year’s Day and back home in the Cleveland Hills after a pre-dawn dash from the Lakes. This from Cockshaw hill above Gribdale Terrace and Howl Road. Roseberry in the distance. A reasonable morning. Cloudy but dry. An old Yorkshire saying is that the weather until March is governed by that on the first three days of January. Another New Year’s Day tradition is the “first footing” or “Lucky Bird”, the first person to enter a house after midnight welcoming the New Year. It’s a nationwide custom but the rules vary from region to region. In the North, he must be a male black haired bachelor and should be bearing a gift or two to symbolise the necessities of life. In my home city of Nottingham this would have been a piece of coal but in Yorkshire, it could also be a sprig of holly, some bread or a piece of salt.
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