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first-footer n  [N Engl and Scots dial; cf EDD, SND] The first person to enter a home on New Year’s Day; a visitor on New Year’s Day or another special occasion; also first-footing visiting or being the first to enter a home on New Year’s Day.1961 Sackett–Koch KS Folkl. 187, New Year’s Day custom called “first-footing,” which consisted of taking a basket containing wine and fruitcake and calling on all your friends early in the morning New Year’s Day and having a drink of wine and a piece of fruitcake at each house. 1967 Cerello Dakota Co. MN 58, This shortbread is like my grandmother made to give to first footers when they came to call on Hogmanay. . . When we were first married and moved to Coates we had forty first footers call on us our first weekend in town. . . There was always something special about greeting first footers after the new year had begun. [Cerello: A custom brought by the Scotch-Irish settlers in the 1870s; now obsolescent.] 1967 DARE Tape MN2, Dad used to do what they always called first-footing. On New Year’s he would be the first one to come in the door—[what] they’d call the first-footer. He would go out and come in with a bottle of wine and some pennies and some biscuits or cookies or something . . in his hand and then he’d give everybody a penny; that was supposed to be luck. . . They wanted somebody who was lucky to be the first footer. Dad was pretty lucky about winning things, and so he was usually the one that did the first footing.



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