SUPERMARKET chain Lidl is set to offer up free coal across its Scottish stores to help keep a Hogmanay tradition alive.

For hundreds of years, people across Scotland have celebrated the new year with the “first footing” - by welcoming strangers into their homes to bring good luck for the year ahead.

The guests usually bring a small gift of whisky, shortbread, coal, salt, a piece of coal or a black bun.

In a bid to continue the centuries-old tradition, the supermarket chain will have coal available at till points across its Scottish stores on December 30 for anyone who wishes to offer a gesture of luck and warmth at Hogmanay gatherings.

Lidl has teamed up with leading Scottish bard Len Pennie, who has written a poem to welcome in the new year.

Ross Millar, Lidl’s regional director for Scotland, said: “At Lidl, we’re big on celebrating the best of Scottish culture - including our age-old tradition of first footing at Hogmanay.

“We are thrilled to be working with Len Pennie to share a poem that celebrates the return of our coal for first footers in an ode to the Scots language.

“Symbolising warmth for the year ahead, we hope this wee gesture brings a ‘Lidl’ joy to our customer’s Hogmanay celebrations this year.”

Len Pennie’s Hogmanay poem

Ma mammy says first fittin is a hing we've aye tae dae

It happens right after the bells on every hogmanay

The first fit that gangs through the door is aye the maist essential

An there's a muckle list ae hings ye need tae fit the richt credentials

It wis aye a man wae hair that's dark, wae somethin in his palm

Coal or whisky, salt or cash, some breid or a wee dram

He'd wait ootside in mirk an cauld till aw the bells have struck

Then pit his fit richt through the door an bring the hoose guid luck

The hing aboot traditions is they're aye subject tae change

We're aye adaptin hings tae fit a world that's awfy strange

So pit yer best fit furrit or at least the fit ye hae,

And mind tae find fit fit fits fit afore next hogmanay

So may lums reek wae coal ye bring, wae drinks an plenty snacks

An mind an pit yer feet up fur a few days tae relax!

It's no been awfy easy, wae the weather, rules an smitt

but jist the same as every year we'll aye find a guid fit

So we'll be waitin ootside tae the bells have aw been rung

An jist afore oor faimily greet an auld lang syne is sung

We'll gie a chap upon the door an poke oor wee fit through

Tae banish oot the auld year an tae welcome wan that's new

An gin ye arenae tall or male, that's ootwith yer control,

But abdy can bring salt an cash, a whisky dram an coal

I hope ye end yer year wae peace an fun on hogmanay

May every fit that's through yer door bring guid luck oan its way