[Bonwicke] New Year's Superstitions

Hdec333 at aol.com Hdec333 at aol.com
Tue Dec 30 20:31:18 PST 2008

New Year's Superstitions:

First Footing:   The first person to enter your home after the stroke
 Of midnight will influence the year you're about to have.  Ideally, he
 Should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better 
if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a 
bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first 
footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before 
they bring disaster down on the  household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, 
but don't let them near your door before a man crosses the Threshold.
The first footer (sometimes called the "Lucky Bird") should knock and
 be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of
 the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off
 whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make
 his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through 
which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer 
arrives - the first traffic across the threshold must be
 headed in  rather than striking out.
First footers must not be
  cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that
 meet in the middle.
Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired
 man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival
 of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the
 partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to
 slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
Food: A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates
 that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both
 general good luck (financial in particular) to the one doing the

  dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard 
greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.
Other "lucky" foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look
 like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands
 still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be
 moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it
 goes so well with pork).
Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or
 turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question,
 diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for
 dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves). 

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