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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/321

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313
First-Footing in Scotland.

them"; "A happy New Year and many returns"; "A guid New Year and a' the better than the last yin"; "A gude New Year tae you and yours, and may yere meal-poke ne'er be empy" (empty), and so forth, and so forth, according as the well-wisher or first-footer has learned in his or her own local district at such a time the New Year's good wishes.

The first-footing has thus begun in real earnest throughout the city, the windows of some of the houses are all ablaze with light, and, to add zest to all, away far up on the ramparts of the grand historical pile, the Castle, stand the band of the Highland Regiment therein stationed at that time; then shaking hands and wishing each other "A gude New Year", you hear the strains of "A guid New Year in Scotia yet", "For auld lang syne", "God save the Queen", and a final round of cheers, then all is still.

The old Scotch families who keep up the old customs encourage their domestics to come in and first-foot them for good luck in their home, wishing them "a lucky gude" New Year, generally accompanied with a gift of money or dress. Then again, grandparents are pleased to have their grandchildren first-foot them, and in many, many cases this rhyme was sung or said by the children visiting the old people:


"Get up, guid wife, and shake yere feathers,
An dinna think that we are beggars,
For we're yere bairns come oot the day,
So rise and gie's oor Hogmonay;"


which was accordingly done with great glee. The older children sometimes were given "ginger cordial", now called wine, with shortbread, currant loaf, scones, oat-cake, cheese, and sometimes an orange or an apple added, with of course the New Year's penny for "guid luck". This, then, was a child's first-footing to grannie. Then, in the case of the seniors, as before described, there was the nocturnal welcome, the love-making, the health-drinking, the song-sing-