Published January 1, 2013 by Libby

footing with
lump of coal,
bringing in the New


This Elfje refers to the tradition of ‘First-footing’, mostly associated with Scotland and the Northern Counties of England. Last thing on December 31st the Old Year is let out of the back door of the house and then, after the strike of twelve midnight, someone (preferably a dark-haired man carrying a lump of coal) brings in the New Year at the front door. People would often go door-to-door ‘first-footing’ and being supplied with food and drink! In our house, if we are home for New Year, I send my husband (unfortunately now grey-haired) out the back just before midnight. He picks up a lump of coal and I let him in the front just after midnight where I greet him with a glass of sherry, a mince-pie and, of course, a kiss!


Today sees the start of the January Mindful Writing (Small Stones) Challenge. Although this Blog is taking part and despite today being Tuesday there will be no changes to the usual pattern – I will only be posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (today is an exception, being the first day) and there will be Elfje submitted by other writers in amongst my own, so please keep those submissions coming in. I will be posting a daily Small Stone on my other blog “By the Wobbly Dum-Dum Tree” which you can find here.

To find out more about the January Challenge, and how to take part, click on the icon in the sidebar.


5 comments on “First-Footing

    • I believe strictly speaking they are suposed to bring the food and drink with them as well as the coal – to ensure all needs are provided for the year. It should also be a dark stranger. My black cat is female so doesn’t count! More info about the tradition on Wikipedia.

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