Christmas Countdown

First Foot Day

It is the 1st of January and there are only 358 days until Christmas.

Today is First Foot Day, a tradition born in Scotland where first footing was a tradition recognizing the first to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day.

It was was so popular in England and Scotland during the 19th century that the streets were often more crowded between midnight and one o’clock in the morning than they would normally be at midday.

If the “First Foot,” traditionally a man, was to bring the family luck, he had to arrive with his arms full of cakes, bread, and cheese for everyone to share. He should be dark-haired, not fair, and must not have flat feet.

So, if he was a ginger, look out.

Being New Years Day there are celebrations and parades a plenty, none more famous than the Rose Parade in California. But let’s not forget the Mummer’s Parade of Philadelphia, a tradition born of ties to Christmas celebration anciently.

Typically associated with the winter solstice anciently and in some ways tied to Christmas celebrations dating as far back as the 17th century a Mummer’s Parade could be mistaken more for its likeness to Halloween with celebrants going door to door seeking treats. The traditions blend the European elements of winter seasonal celebration by costumed celebrants parading through the streets singing songs and engaging in mischief.

Through the centuries these roving bands perhaps took the celebrations to an unhealthy level and governments began to organize events to keep things from getting out of hand. The Mummer’s Parade of Philadelphia survives to keep the tradition alive, featuring folk music, games, foods, and the world famous parade each New Year’s Day.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.

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