Happy Hogmanay!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year or Happy Hogmanay!

Hogmanay is the Scottish word used for New Years Eve, and is a huge celebration in Scotland, especially the capital Edinburgh. Although I have never spent a Hogmanay celebrating in the centre of Edinburgh or Glasgow, I have spent it with my family in Scotland and still have some of the traditions in my celebrations in London.

Generally Hogmanay is spent with family, friends or neighbours, visiting their homes.

On Hogmanay, we do not eat until just gone midnight, with a meal of steak pie (the table needs to be laid and full at midnight to bring a full table for the rest of the year). We eat and drink, tell stories and play games.

Special attention is given to the ‘first footer’ (the first new guest of the new year). This person is the bringer of good fortune for the year ahead. This is regarded as a Gaelic tradition. To bring good fortune, this person should ideally be a tall dark-haired man. The guest should also carry a number of items. We would always have whisky and a food item (sultana cake), representing food, flavour and good cheer for the year ahead. Other items can be coal (warmth), evergreen (prosperity), silver coin (financial fortune). It was always my Grandad’s job to be the first-footer, meaning we would shove him outside just before the bells and then let him back in once the bells had finished! Since he passed away, I try to force this tradition onto my husband. I am not sure if I have convinced him yet!

Auld Lang Syne is a tradition of Hogmanay that is found in many British celebrations. Auld Lang Syne is a poem by the famous Robert Burns and it is now common to sing this in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight. Not many people know the words, but after a few drinks everyone gives it a good go!

On my bucket list I would like to celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh, one of the biggest New Years Eve events in the UK and although it will not be my traditional NYE I would love to experience it.

All the best for 2018, CJeffers

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