Happy New Year and Happy Hogmanay, or Scottish New Year!

Posted by Ruth Weston on

Happy New Year my friends!

In England and other areas of the UK, Hogmanay is celebrated as the New Year's tradition, especially in Scotland where the celebrations last for 3 days.

 It is not known exactly where the word comes from, although it is believed to come from the French word 'hoginane' meaning 'gala day'. It is thought to have first been used widely following Mary, Queen of Scots' return to Scotland from France in 1561. 

And when Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas for fear of idolatry in the 1650s, Hogmanay gained popularity.

 Hogmanay has some fun customs... and First Footing is one.

 First Footing plays an important part. The First Footer refers to the first person who crosses the threshold of your house after midnight and "seals yer fate" for the coming year. The First Footer should be a tall, dark and handsome man with a "dainty foot". Until the First Footer came in the front door after midnight, no one should enter or leave. The First Footer would knock, be asked to enter and do so with gifts in his pockets which have regional variations. :

The usual in my family's tradition was bread or sometimes salt, coal, coins and matches. In Scotland the bread is shortbread and also included...what else? Whiskey! The First Footer then backs out of the door...so he won't take his good luck with him. Then the door (and the party) is free for all!

The coal means your hearth won't grow cold, your bread is enough food, the coins insure prosperity and the matches, light.

First Footers who met the criteria, were in great demand and could make good money going from house to house by appointment, and earn enough to live on for months.

 And, as all over, the singing of Burn's great song Auld Lang Syne

Another Hogmany treat is Black Bun... and this great photo and article in The Herald:

'Serving a slice of black bun with a generous dram to first-footers on Hogmanay is traditional in Scotland':

So who will be first through your door??? I know who will be first in our home, as He will never have left!

A Happy New Year to you all and may 2020 be a year of health, prosperity, peace and happiness in our home and in yours!




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