Hogmanay !!!!! New Years´Eve In Scotland


New Years´Eve in Britain is celebrated much the same as anywhere else.i.e. People of my age are asleep before midnight, some people party too much, others get the party just perfect.Everything working out according to plan.......... BUT... Scotland?. New Years Eve or Hogmanay as it is referred to there, is even more of a festival than xmas..


One reason could be, that xmas was banned in Scotland for many years. From the end of the 17th century, Protestant Scotland, regarded xmas as associated with the pope and all things catholic. This they did not like. Too much blood had been spilled over previous centuries between catholic and protestant..... So, since many people were at work as normal on xmas day, the people exchanged presents and had a jolly festival on New Years´Eve or New Years´Day. friends and family would gather together much the same as others did on xmas day.

One of the heights of New years´Eve , to this day is the singing of Auld Lang Syne

Trying to sing over their laughing.
Trying to sing over their laughing.

This old song is , of course not only sung in Scotland, but in many places all over the world, the sad thing being that the great majority of people only know the chorus. So it is the linking of crossed arms and the singing of the chorus only that happens in most places.

´´Should auld acquaintance be forgot

and never brought to mind?

Shouls auld acquaintance be forgot,

and days of auld lang syne..´´

That verse or something very similar is what most people sing, but if you want to impress or annoy your friends, you could pick another verse just to show you are really in the spirit of things

e.g. And surely you´ll be your pint stowp

And surely l´ll be mine,

And we´ll take a cup o´kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

(as far as l can find out. a pint stowp is a pint vessel.)

Depending on where you live and what kind of party you are having, the little kiss at midnight can be anything from a peck on the cheek to a long lingering kiss. (which l have seen cause many a marital argument.. )

Apparently the reason for the kiss is symbolic of putting any grudge from the past behind you. ,thus welcoming a clean break , a fresh start to a fresh New Year..

Still daylight. The eating, drinking, singing and kissing has yet to come.
Still daylight. The eating, drinking, singing and kissing has yet to come.

Until l moved to the North of England, , almost at the Scottish border, l had never even heard of some of the customs, such as ´´First Footing´´.

It still seems to be a common custom for the first foot over your doorstep, after midnight ought to belong to a tall, dark male. This will bring you luck for the coming year.

It has been said that this custom goes back to the days of the Vikings.. The last person you´d want to see on your doorstep was a tall blonde, viking wielding a sword , rather than bearing gifts.. A blonde viking on your doorstep would always spell ´trouble´...

l know people in Scotland who still practise this custom of sending the tallest, darkest man carrying a piece of coal over the doorstep at midnight. The piece of coal???l could not find a definite answer to why coal, but in line with the good luck idea , l expect it was to be sure you´d have enough fuel to warm your little house all year round.

preparing the fireworks at Edinburgh castle
preparing the fireworks at Edinburgh castle

In modern times Edinburgh, as in many other cities,will have a Torchlight Procession.

A concert at Princess Street Gardens, with fireworks as well as music.

This year Edinburgh Hogmanay events also include setting off 5.5 tons of fireworks from Edinburgh Castle.!!!!. They are expecting visitors from 50 different countries. (l hope the visitors check the weather forecast, and have some idea of the climate.) The organisers of this event have thought of it, it would appear, since the concert and all the revelries are going to be streamed live online for the 1st time.!!!

Wild horses wouldn´t drag me from my central heating at midnight in December, so this seems a great idea. Having said that, l know that when l was young, wild horses would not have kept me indoors on New Years´Eve.

Anyway, coming back to the brave, who will begin dressing with thermal underwear, followed by layers of clothes until they get to the coat , which wil be 2 sizes larger than they normally wear, so it can fit on top of all the layers.! Gloves, scarves, hats, and they will almost be ready..... never forget to warm the inside too. The inside of you, , l mean. Whether it´s hot chocolate, or coffee,, or hot toddies with whiskey or brandy...... Whatever suits you best, as long as you are warm, then your Hogmanay is going to be a ´Night to Remember´.

This year , with New Years Eve being a saturday, there will be hundreds of people who will have organised a weekend in Scotland. Travel to Edinburgh on Friday, Stay at one of the multitude of hotels to choose from.. Edinburgh is a city that caters well for visitors all year round, so there is no shortage of the Grand 5 star , GlassHouse Hotels or The Marriotts, right through to the less expensive holiday Inns and small hotels, even large houses that do just bed and breakfast..

A beautiful city like Edinburgh has something for everyone, so if you want to spend the day looking at a museum, a castle or a huge department store. They´re all there for you, just remember to save some energy for the Saturday Night 31st december.!!!!

What a wonderful weekend you could have. Dinner at your Hotel before leaving for the concert and firework display, the kisses at midnight, singing Auld Lang Syne, and of course we mustn't forget the men in kilts , playing the bagpipes. What an atmosphere.!!!!

l love men in Kilts. There´s just something about the way the kilt sways back and forth as he walks..l still haven´t made my mind up about the sound that comes out of bagpipes.. Is it beautiful? or sounding like a cat being strangled.??

One thing is for sure, if you join in REAL Scottish hogmanay revelries, you will go home with ´´auld lang syne´´ ringing in your ears (hopefully with a newly learned verse.)

You´ll sleep well and lie in as late as you like , or have your breakfast sent to your room, Whatever suits you. A stroll along the banks of the river Leith that runs through Edinburgh, before heading home and facing 2012 with hope and joy.

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Comments 22 comments

David Legg 7 profile image

David Legg 7 5 years ago from Trout Paradise, Colorado

Very interesting hub. Thank you for sharing some old customs that shed some light on aspects for our modern american celebration.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow.. so glad you shared.. I love reading about different countries and what you wrote was history to.

Great HUB

i voted up

Happy new year.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Happy New Year, Dim! That's a very interesting hub!

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thank you, David legg for reading my little effort here.

l´m glad you enjoyed it.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thanks Deborah,

yes some of the history of Scotland was new to me too. They centainly know how to throw a party up there. !!!!!

Take care.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Glad you liked the hub , Shalini.

l hope you are well and 2012 will be good for you.

Take care,

Dim . x

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Great hub Dim, I really enjoyed reading this, I must admit the verses of Auld Lang Syne have always been a bit of a mystery to me!! They certainly know how to celebrate in Scotland, have a wonderful evening and a very Happy New Year to you.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

You are not alone in being puzzled by auld lang syne. l mean, even the title makes me go eh??

Thanks for reading and leaving a lovely comment..

michelleernst profile image

michelleernst 5 years ago

What a timely history lesson...thank you!

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

You are welcome.!!! Thank you for reading and leaving me some feedback.

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jenubouka 5 years ago

Interesting and sounds like a wonderful history. I enjoy learning about cultural new year traditions as this. Happy new year Dim! I am blonde so I will exile myself today:)

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Hi jenubouka......

Thanks for the feedback. We have no tall dark men in our family so we´re no good for bringing luck to the superstitious either. Ha! Ha!.

my husband also pointed out that original , majority of scottish people are redheads, so goodness knows where the tale really comes from. Although , just about anyone NOT a viking at your door has to be a winner. Hope 2012 will be good for all of us.

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jenubouka 5 years ago

That is funny. No vikings at my door, more like the Spanish Requisition....

epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..well my most beautiful friend I know all about Scotland and new year's eve because my mum and dad were both born in Stirling, home of Mel Gibson - lol - sorry - home of William Wallace - and as always your hub topics and writing is so utterly charming that I just want to live here with you - but in the meantime I sincerely send these warm wishes for you and your family with continued health , happiness and prosperity and thank you for always supporting me - that's a big thrill for me ......

lake erie time ontario canada 4:22pm

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Dear Epi man,

You always write in such a friendly way, that makes you seem close by.

Thank you for all your support.

love, Dim

zzron profile image

zzron 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

Cool hub Dim. Thanks for the history lesson. I hope you had a Happy New Year's Eve! Oh, I mean Hogmanay! LOL.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Grateful as always for your supportive comments.

Thanks a lot,


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interesting hub on Scotland and the New Years Eve traditions. I found the tradition of the dark tall male crossing into the doorway very intriguing. Great work :-)

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

It was interesting for me too when l put a little research together with what friends North of the border have told me in the past.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

dotty1 profile image

dotty1 5 years ago from In my world

Aw a fantastic hub, my family are Scottish whilst I was born in the North East (My mother referred to me as a Scots man with his brains kicked in) ....nice hehe. But this gives you an idea of their humour and you have told it just how they told me :)

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain Author

Oh! dotty 1 This is such a wonderful comment, because most of my family are mixed, Irish, Sottish and Welsh. (l live in N.West) So often have l heard ...a... with his brains kicked in.....

loved this comment so much. Thank you for reading.

dotty1 profile image

dotty1 5 years ago from In my world

Haha that is me :) A geordie from Scottish parents now too living in the NW... Was such a great hub

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