The Word of the day is qualtagh
the first person you meet after you leave the house.

The Word of the day is qualtagh- the first person you meet after you leave the house.

No Splay-footed here

To ensure luck, a qualtagh should be a dark-haired man.

(The Scots believe the opposite. Sigh.)

He must not be spaagagh or splay-footed.

A red or fair-haired lady is considered unlucky. Sorry.

On New Years, the Qualtagh had better be bearing gifts.

These include whiskey, whiskey, and whiskey.

Just kidding.

He can bring a coin, bread, salt, or coal too.

They all have a specific meaning for the year ahead.

coin = financial prosperity

bread = food

salt = flavour

coal = warmth

Whiskey = good cheer

On the plus side for the first-foot, he is served the finest the household has to offer.

Die like a Mouse

In old times, a group of young men might visit their wealthier neighbors on “the qualtagh”.

And entertain with this rhyme (loosely translated)

Don’t Qualtagh a Qualtagher

In order to be the “first-foot”, you can’t be in the house at the stroke of midnight.

So being there and then going outside and coming back in does NOT make you the Qualtagh!

No goodies for you.

Who’s yours?

Who’s the first person you see in the morning?

You could make their day more interesting by shouting “Qualtagh” at them in a booming, Gaelic sort of way.

Or just find out their name.

origin: from Gaelic (Manx) qualtagh, meaning “first foot

Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.