New Year: Quaaltagh


The Quaaltagh is the first person to enter a home in the New Year, and they will determine how luck will go for the household over the next twelve months. If they are dark-haired, tall and male, then you're in luck. If they are female, short and red-haired, things might not go so well in 2023...

This is the Quaaltagh blessing that should be recited:
(you'll notice that it doesn't rhyme in the English translation but it does in the original Manx!)
Ollick ghennal erriu, as blein feer vie
Seihll as slaynt da'n slane lught-thie;
Bea, gennallys as bioyr eu ry-cheilley.
Shee as graih eddyr mraane as deiney;
Cooid as cowryn, stock as stoyr.
Palchey puddase as skeddan dy-liooar;
Arran as caashey, eeym as roauyr;
Baase myr lugh ayns ullin ny soalt;
Cadley sauchey tra vees shiu ny lhie,
Gyn feeackle y jiargan, cadley dy mie.
A Merry Christmas to you, and a good year;
Luck and health to the whole house;
Life, joy, and sprightliness to every one.
Peace and love between men and women;
Goods and riches, stock and store.
Lots of potatoes, herring enough ;
Bread and cheese, and butter and beef.
Death like a mouse in a barn haggart;
Sleeping safely when you are in bed,
Undisturbed by the flea's tooth, sleeping well.


  1. Very similar to Northwest England customs. I think the visitor would carry a piece of coal. We use to put our shoes behind the front door for Father Time to put money in them.

  2. Gosh! Do the fleas on The Isle of Man really have teeth? I guess we modern day people should be grateful that we don't share our beds with insects - bed bugs, fleas etcetera.

    1. They have quite fearsome teeth I am told. If the midges are anything to go by I can quite believe it.

  3. What if they are female, tall and blond streaked hair? I expect my daughter to visit today! Or male, average height and bald? Those are the people that might come first today!

    1. I would think they will bring joy and happiness as well as good luck, Ellen!

  4. I'm still waiting for my "First Foot" - tall, dark man, similar to your custom. Maybe I will grab the mailman tomorrow and drag him in over the threshold. Can't forgo a year of good luck!

  5. We were expecting our lunch guests when a friend of my wife's turned-up. She is short, chubby, and white haired. Things aren't looking good.

  6. Thank you so much for the Manx blessing. I will show that to my husband when he comes down. Sadly, not a Manx word survived in the family when they came to Manchester back in the 1860s.

    1. I thought of you both when I posted this, BB.

  7. Damn I just wrote a long comment and seemed to have deleted it.
    Greeks have first footers here too. Cute kids are often in demand and woken up to be thrown out into the cold so they can enter, right foot first. But they're well rewarded.
    I think our house was first footed by a foreign devil, coming in after throwing out the previous nights ashes. Not a good omen.
    Love the blessing.

  8. It's a similar tradition to "First Footing" in Scotland.
    My in-laws were Scottish and adhered very strictly to the tradition of the first across the threshold should be a tall dark man, carrying a lump of coal, a piece of cake and a "wee dram". One year husband and I, on our way back from a party, decided to call in to wish them all the best etc. It was getting on for 3 a.m. and they were still up waiting patiently for the first footer! Oh, the consternation when there was no lump of coal (no-one had coal fires by then), no cake and no booze. We ended up standing on the step outside, in the cold and damp and weren't allowed in! Husband went back the next morning with the requisite items, only to be told that a more considerate neighbour had popped round at about 8 a.m.!

    1. That's taking it just a wee bit too far!


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