In days gone by the New Year was started with a custom called first footing which was supposed to bring good luck to people for the coming year. As midnight passed and the 1st of January was with us people would wait for a dark haired person to arrive who would be carrying a lump of coal, bread, money and some greenery which would bring good luck to the family for the year ahead. The visitor would then take a pan of ashes out with them signifying the end of the old year.
Did you know this tradition is still popular here in the UK mostly in the North of England and Scotland.
I can remember as a child in the 1960's being asked to go outside to get a lump of coal from the coal shed then to come back in via the front door. I would then pass the lump of coal to my brother who would then throw it onto the open coal fire.