Experience the Scottish New Year tradition of First Footin’ at Rural Hill on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 at 11 a.m. Participants will walk the borders of the Historic Rural Hill property, in Huntersville, stopping together to listen to stories of history and folklore. The walk is between 2 and 3 miles, so dress comfortably. Following the “First Footin’” will be a dramatic reading of the story “Stone Soup” and a luncheon. The event is free, but please bring something share for the luncheon.
First Footin’ Schedule
11:00 – Step off for the First Footin’ Walk around the farm grounds
12:00 – Stone Soup Blessing and Gathering
List of Items Needed:
•Fresh or canned vegetables for the soup
•Soft Drinks, Tea, or Favorite Beverage (non-alcoholic)
•Bowls, Plates, Napkins, Eating Utensils
4431 Neck Road, Huntersville, N. C. 28078-8342
Wear good walking shoes and appropriate clothing for the season.
This will be a vigorous walk around the farm’s 2.25 mile trail, event, and historic sites, stopping along the way to discuss history and folklore.
If you do not think you are physically able to do the walk, please come anyway. It’s a great time for fellowship at the Rural Retreat Cabin Site, which will be open for this occasion.
The First Footin’ Tradition
Following the Protestant Reformation in Scotland in the latter half of the sixteenth century, it was considered irreverent to celebrate dates of religious importance. Thus, merriment and celebrations were reserved for Hogmanay (pronounced Hog-muh-nay,) this important part of the year combined both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with a celebration of good will and good fortune. The use of the term “first footin’,” according to legend, is as follows:
Fortune would smile on the household if the first person to set foot in the doorway on the New Year was a young man; presumably tall, handsome, healthy, dark haired, dark eyed, and bearing gifts (such as a lump of coal for the fire.) Today it does no harm if the first footer carries a bottle of his best and favorite beverage to offer his host a drink and a toast, stating “Lang may your lum reek.” This traditional Scottish salutation wishes its recipient long life and prosperity. It literally means “long may your chimney smoke.”
Several towns throughout the hillsides of Scotland continue an age old annual ritual of walking the town limits to restate or reclaim the boundaries of the township.
These traditions have been adopted as part of the Rural Hill Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) celebration, known simply as “First Footin’”. Traditionally, the fulfillments of Hogmanay’s rituals and folklore have assured good crops, good health, and good fortune in the coming year.