Hogmanay

Aye very Soon it will be 2018 so Happy New Year when it comes to you all.But some folk may well ask What is Hogmanay ?Well for those who don't know it is a Scottish tradition held every year on the 31 December and is a very important event in the Scottish calendar.Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year  in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year's Day and on the 2nd January as this is also a Scottish bank holiday.The origins of Hogmanay are unclear but it may well be come from Norse and Gaelic.Customs vary throughout Scotland and usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours with special attention given to the first-foot the first guest of the new year.Although many of these traditions and customs have wained (pity) as we now have local and international events in all our major cities and towns with Edinburgh being the most notable and famous and over 400.00 attending.There are many customs both national and local associated with Hogmanay.The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as coal shortbread whisky which individually bring different kinds of luck to the householder.Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally tall dark-haired men are preferred as the first-foot.Depending where you are in Scotland will also depend on how the local celebrate their Hogmanay.Local Hogmanay custom in Stonehaven Aberdeenshire have fireball swinging.This involves local people making up "balls" of chicken wire filled with old newspaper sticks rags and other dry flammable material up to a diameter of 2 feet (0.61 m) each attached to about 3 feet (0.91 m) of wire chain or nonflammable rope.As the Old Town House bell sounds to mark the new year the balls are set alight and the swingers set off up the High Street from the Mercat Cross to the Cannon and back swinging the burning balls around their heads as they go.At the end of the ceremony any fireballs that are still burning are cast into the harbour. The festivities are now streamed live over the Internet.Another example of a pagan fire festival is the burning the clavie in the town of Burghead in Moray.In the east coast fishing communities and Dundee first-footers once carried a decorated herring. And in Falkland in Fife local men marched in torchlight procession to the top of the Lomond Hills as midnight approached. Bakers in St Andrews baked special cakes for their Hogmanay celebration (known as "Cake Day") and distributed them to local children.In Glasgow and Edinburgh and the central areas of Scotland the tradition is to hold Hogmanay parties that involve singing dancing eating of steak pie or stew storytelling and drink. These usually extend into the daylight hours of 1 January.There are really too many customs for hogmanay throughout Scotland and the Isles to mention but you can certainly say we like a party.The Hogmanay custom of singing Auld Lang Syne" has become common in many countries. Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem by Robert Burns based on traditional and other earlier sources.It is now common to sing this in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight for New Year's Day though it is only intended that participants link arms at the beginning of the final verse co-ordinating with the lines of the song that contain the lyrics to do so. Typically it is only in Scotland this practice is carried out correctly.Where ever you are in the World we will raise a glass and toast to each and every one.

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Hogmanay

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