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..
WHY IS THAT ??.
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
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..
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.
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.