Monday, 28 December 2020

A Cornish Ancient Custom For The New Year


A New Year tale from days gone by:

In the rural districts of Cornwall, it is thought to be unlucky if  a female is first to enter the house on New Year's Morning. To insure the contrary, it was customary, to give boys some small reward for placing sand on the doorsteps and in the passage.

In many places, not many years since, droves of boys would march through towns and villages, collecting their fees for 'sanding your step for good luck'.

I know a lady who, at the commencement of the present year, sent a cabman into her house before her, on promise of giving him a glass of spirits, so that she might insure the good luck which depends upon 'a man taking the New Year in'.

The above was taken from an 1865 book by Robert Hunt titled: The Traditions and Superstitions of Old Cornwall.

2 comments:

  1. My granddad used to go out of the house a few minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve so he could be the first male person to cross the threshold in the New Year. Known as "first footing" a person had to bring wood & coal with them for prosperity.
    These old customs are fascinating.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks David. My mother was from the north-east (Wallsend) and she was very much into first footing, especially the coal. When I was young dad had to go outside just after midnight to bring in a piece of coal for the fire. Such happy memories.

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