The men of Britain had to time it just right. He had to purchase or gather treats such as cakes and breads and cheeses, and then he had to lurk about, waiting for midnight, and then he could “firstfoot” by being the first to cross the threshold of somebody's home in the New Year.
Firstfooting, an English and Scotish tradition, was supposed to bring the family luck. However, if the firstfooter had flat feet or – oh, the horror! – blond hair, some other man would do the firstfooting duties to bring luck (because flat feet and fair hair weren't so lucky, I guess?). Apparently firstfooting was so popular, the streets were more crowded between midnight and 1 a.m. on New Year's Day than they were at any normal busy daytime.
According to my sources, firstfooting is still common in some areas of Britain and even the U.S.
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