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Look at that, Q day happened! Let’s pretend it’s still Friday because I have found a most interesting word for you!

Qualtagh  
Noun [Kwol-tog]
From Gaelic Manx
the first individual or creature a person meets after exiting his or her house after the New Year, or after a long seclusion as with childbirth.

Happy Birthday Jack!

As with most ancient things, there is a lot of superstition surrounding this word, in that your qualtagh’s appearance was a signal of your luck in the year to come.

From Folklore of the Isle of Man by A. W. Moore, 1891:

January 1, New Year’s Day, formerly called Laa Nolick beg, “Little Christmas Day,” was the occasion for various superstitions . Among these was that about the “first foot.” The “first foot,” called the qualtagh in Manx, is defined as follows by Kelly in his Dictionary: ” the first person or creature one meets going from home. This person is of great consequence to the superstitious, particularly to women the first time they go out after lying-in.” The qualtagh (he or she) may also be the first person who enters a house on New Year’s morning. In this case it is usual to place before him or her the best fare the family can afford. It was considered fortunate if the qualtagh were a person (a man being preferred to a woman), of dark complexion, as meeting a person of light complexion at this time, especially if his or her hair is red, would be thought very unlucky. It is curious that the superstition in Scotland is the exact reverse of this – i.e., to meet a light complexioned person was fortunate. If the qualtagh were spaagagh, or splay-footed, it would be considered very unfortunate. It was important, too, that the qualtagh on New Year’s Day should bring some gift as if he or she came empty-handed, misfortunes would be sure to ensue. To meet a cat first on this day was considered unlucky. It was supposed to be necessary to exercise great care to sweep the floor of the house on New Year’s morning from the door towards the hearth, so that the dust should go towards the hearth, for, if this were not done, the good fortune of the family would be considered to be swept from the house for that year.

My 2012 word: QUALE – I love this one!!  #spock #cool

Today’s photo: BLURRY

A painting I did at the local painting class place. I love dandelions :)
About the Author Corinne

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  1. The first world is so strange that I won’t even bother trying to spell it properly as I type this comment, lol, but the description/definition of it was interesting to learn. I do like the second world…Quale. Yeah, I can get with that!

    ~Nicole
    2013 A to Z Co-Host
    http://www.madlabpost.com

  2. I love the history here of these words. The meanings also are intriguing and make me wonder sometimes how I could use them in a story. This one is cool in that the story behind it is so specific. Wonder if the first person a woman meets after a baby is born also means something good or bad for the baby?

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