British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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Jan. i.]                        new year's day.                                   9
The following extract, relating to Newcastle-on-Tyne, is taken from the North of England Advertiser of January 4th, 1873:
The children on New Year's morn are busy begging their New Year's gifts, saying, " Old Year out, New Year in ; please give us my New Year's gift;" or " A merry Christmas and a happy New Year;" followed by the usual appeal for a present. The first-foot is an important personage. If he should be a dark man, it is a fiign of good luck; if a light one not so lucky; but alas! if a woman, the worst luck will befall the household. Similar to the first hearing of the cuckoo, it is of the greatest importance whether or not you have money in your pocket and your cupboard full on New Year's Day.
In this county it is considered unlucky to remove anything from a house until something has been brought in, and there­fore, early in the morning, each member of the family carries some trifling thing in. In the neighbourhood of Newark, this rhyme is sung:
" Take out, and take in, Bad luck is sure to begin; But take in and take out, Good luck will come about."
Jour, of Arch. Assoc. 1853, vol. viii. p. 231.
Brand, in his Pop. Antiq. (1849, vol. i. p. 15), alludes to this custom as existing in Lincoln and its neighbourhood. The rhyme he quotes is slightly different from the above:
" Take out, then take in, Bad luck will begin; Take in, then take out, Good luck comes in."
Pointer, in his Oxoniensis Academia (1749, p. 71), alludes to a custom, observed at Brasenose College, Oxford, of the Bachelors of Arts and Undergraduates belonging to the
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