26 December 2007

No Unibrows, Please!

"Hogmanay" is a Scots word which means "the last day of the year." The date is actually Dec. 31, but the celebration carries through the night to Jan. 1, also known as "Ne'erday." And if you're going to be in Scotland, you might as well keep partying, because Jan. 2 is a bank holiday!

There are many traditions associated with Hogmanay, not the least of which is "first footing." This is the first person to set foot across your threshhold after the stroke of midnight, often bearing gifts and best wishes for the new year. From Scotsman.com:

On the stroke of midnight it is still common for houses to be "first footed" by a tall, handsome stranger bearing gifts. Although the first-footer is seldom a stranger, it is preferable that he is dark. This harks back to days of Viking invaders when a fair-haired man knocking at your door was more likely to inspire terror than pleasure.

Until quite recently the first-footer was subject to a rather rigorous code of looks. Out-of-date now, there was a time when a first-footer should not be flat-footed, cross-eyed or have their eyebrows meeting (thought to denote the evil eye).

I'll be offline for a few days, visiting family. So Happy Hogmanay, and may your first-footer be tall, dark, handsome, and two-browed!


1 comment:

Samantha Lucas said...

My grandmother was very superstitious and she kept that tradition faithfully every year. :)

Happy New Years!