Hogmanay - the Scottish New Year
Happy New Year!
Or Hogmanay as we know it. Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of New Year in the Scottish manner. Hogmanay is usually followed by further celebrations on the morning of January 1st, New Year’s Day.
Hogmanay is believed to be derived from the Norse and Gaelic observances. The roots of Hogmanay can be traced back to the celebration of the Winter Solstice among the Norse, as well as incorporating the Gaelic celebration of Samhain. As Christmas was not celebrated for more than 400 years, Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland.
Scottish Hogmanay customs include gift-giving and visiting the homes of neighbors and friends, with the special attention to the First-Foot, the first guest of the New Year. Many areas of Scotland have developed their own Hogmanay rituals. In Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, the local people make “balls” of chicken wire filled with dry flammable material and attached to long wire or chain to be swung above their heads down the main street as the bells ring out for the New Year.
My favorite custom is to sing “Auld Lang Syne” as the bell tolls Midnight. Auld Lang Syne is a Scots poem by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. Many a nights have been spent with friends around campfires and at festivals to ring in the New Year. We usually link arms and sway as the song is belted out over the airwaves whilst also enjoying a wee dram.
Sláinte is táinte in 2018!