National First Foot Day

For people who are not familiar with the folkloric traditions of Northern England and Scotland, National First-Foot Day might sound like a strange holiday. However, if you are familiar with those traditions, then it’s one that instantly makes sense.

According to tradition, the first person who sets foot into a home is the bringer of good luck to that home. Setting first foot can only be done by people who are outside the home at midnight or before and then step into the home at midnight.

Of course, people who occupy the home can set first foot into the home if they’re outside before it strikes midnight. Does that make sense? If so, then let’s look at this January 1st holiday a little more closely.

The History of National First-Foot Day

It’s commonly believed that the Vikings invented the First-Foot tradition during the 8th century during the invasion of England and Scotland. This tradition was eventually combined with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” and a holiday tradition was born.

In England and Scotland, this tradition has been celebrated for hundreds of years. The tradition was even brought to the United States and has shown up in other cultures as well. Of course, most of these traditions have a lot of things in common.

For example, the “first footer” is supposed to come bearing gifts. This can be something as simple as shortbread, salt, whiskey, or a silver coin. This person is seen as a bringer of good fortune.

Observing National First-Foot Day

The only real way to observe this holiday is by embracing some of its traditions. Traditions include the first footing rule, singing “Auld Lang Syne,” and enjoying the day with friends and family. People can also spread the word about this holiday through social media using the hashtag #NationalFirstFootDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 1 Monday
Next year (2025)
January 1 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
January 1 Sunday
Culture & History