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  • Joe Armata
    Jan 2, 2012
      The Pittsburgh Tribune Review had an article today about the Scottish
      practice of "first footing" in Pittsburgh - a male must be the first to
      enter the house in the New Year:



      > From “Slovakia: European Contexts of the Folk Culture”. A New Year’s
      > custom, polazujuce days.
      > “One special form of carolling, is represented by ‘polazovanie’, ... Its
      > essence is in the arrival of the first male visitor to the house during
      > the so called ‘polazujuce’ days, when the ritual prohibition for a woman
      > to enter a foreign house as the first one, is in effect. This is
      > connected to magic of beginning, on which, according to superstitious
      > concepts, the happiness or unhappiness of a family was based. Also
      > through this ritual act we can read out concepts of woman under the folk
      > belief. ‘Polaznik’ should come early morning, almost when still dark,
      > and keep certain rules. Firstly, he should be healthy, young, nicely
      > dressed boy in a growing period of age. He should come against the flow
      > of the river, so as to not let the establishment run away down the
      > water. These magic elements were so strong, that in some areas, people
      > used to pull into the house on the Lord’s Birth day as ‘polasnik’, a
      > young bull or ram, which represented the principle of fertility.”
      > “Also processions with masks had a character of carolling. Their
      > prosperity purposes were, besides songs and wishes, multiplied also by
      > other means. For example, processions with ‘kurina baba’ – straw mask,
      > when masks danced with women and girls, who during the dance pulled of
      > the straw skirts pieces of straw and put it under a hen. This procession
      > was made my young men on New Year’s Eve.”
      > My mother practiced polazovanie when I was growing up. There was no
      > formal procession to bring the young man. She would invite a young
      > neighbor boy in to be the first before a girl.
      > A Happy and Bountiful New Year to all.
      > Michael Mojher
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