Wishing everyone a Guid Hogmanay (a good new year’s eve) and a Happy New Year for 2024
As a Scott I celebrate Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve the Scottish way though I don’t do the first footing anymore, which is traditional in Scotland. Traditionally the first guest or first foot through the front door should be a dark haired man bearing goods to celebrate the occasion, such as a bottle of whiskey and some shortbread and a lump of coal for the fire. This is to ensure good health and prosperity for the coming year.
My father was very popular at Hogmanay because he was very dark haired, so he always was to be the first foot in the family home and neighbourhood. Traditional music whether being sung by the household and their guests or records being played was always important as is the tradition meal prior to the alcohol consumption. This would usually be roast beef and vegetables or homemade steak pie and not forgetting Yorkshire pudding to accompany the meal. Yummy I loved eating Yorkshire pudding and always tried to score a big slice.
On the stroke of midnight it is traditional to open the back door and the front door to let out the old year and welcome in the new year. Not just that, during the day the house is cleaned from top to bottom and then everyone has to change into clothes to celebrate the occasion. The Hogmanay meal cooked and ready to serve to the family and guests. The whole day is like a ritual to ensure good luck for the coming year.
New Year celebrations traditionally last a week in Scotland and I remember taking part in these celebrations when I was young, this was even after my father had been out at work all day and then came home and got ready to go out with the family to a relatives home to have a celebration there. This was great fun because I got to catch up with cousins and family that I had not seen for a while. So it was always rather exciting. It is not unusual to stay up all night and seeing the sun coming up. Often people stay overnight, just crashing where they are partying. That is a very common occurrence in Scotland at Hogmanay and through the New Year’s Day or as we Scott’s call it, Ne’erday ( sounds like nair day).
Other traditions are being given a traditional Scottish calendar which is placed in a prominent place in the lounge room. It may have the West Highland terrier and a Scottish terrier it usually has lucky white heather with a tartan ribbon holding the heather together and the border of the calendar usually has a tartan border around it. These calendars are hard to come by these days unfortunately. Then the copious amounts of shortbread that is given as a gift to the family by anyone visiting during the New Year celebrations or in the days following.
If loved ones live overseas then they will often receive a traditional Scottish calendar from loved ones back home. Tartan is popular with Scottish people regardless of where they live and is often displayed in a Scottish household at New Year or even at any other time of the year including Burns’s night on 25th January.
A blessing is always welcome such as Lang may your lum reek. Meaning long may your chimney have smoke in it. Which is, may you be blessed with a long and prosperous life.
The traditional song to bring in the New Year, Auld Lang Syne ( for old times sake) written by Robert Burns is a very emotional song in Scotland. But sign is definitely not pronounced Zine, this is not a German word it is a Scottish word meaning sake. So please pronounce it correctly as it is offensive to Scottish people when it is mispronounced like it has been made popular by Americans. This song is not just sang at New Year, it is sung whenever someone is leaving the country or going away for a period of time. Below is a historical article on Hogmanay and the 400 years ban on celebrating Christmas in Scotland until the 1950’s.
Please enjoy your New Year celebrations wherever you live and stay safe. Have a backup plan for getting home too. Keep your phone fully charged before you head out to party. Oh, and yeah, don’t forget electrolytes for the hangover from hell. The more dehydrated you are the worse the hangover.
New Zealand, of course is the first country that brings in the new year to the world and I am sure the younger members of the country will be get ready for tonight’s celebrations. Enjoy your festivities En Zeds 🥰