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Hogmanay - Celebrating New Year's Eve in Scotland
Hogmanay is a Scottish New Year Tradition
Hogmanay (sometimes seen spelled Hogmany) is a Scots word that refers to New Year's Eve and the subsequent New Year celebrations.
Although Hogmanay itself is 31 December, the Scottish in fact celebrate the new year until 2nd January. This day is an official holiday only in Scotland, and not in the rest of the UK where the word 'Hogmanay' is not used.
Hogmanay involves a number of traditions, including the ancient custom of 'first-footing', the song Auld Lang Syne, and more recently fireworks at Edinburgh Castle.
Both this image and the Edinburgh Fireworks photos below shared by photojenni on flickr.
The song Auld Lang Syne was adapted by Scottish poet Robert Burns from an even older ballad dating from the 1500s or even earlier. It was later given a musical accompaniment, to become the song we all recognise today.
'Auld Lang Syne' means 'old long ago' or more literally 'old long since'.
The lyrics to the first verse and the chorus of the song are as follows:
Should old acquaintances be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld Lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!
The remaining verses of this song and the original poem can be found on the website of the Robert Burns World Federation.
The Scottish custom is to cross the arms and join hands for the final verse only, although the song is more commonly sung with arms crossed for all verses.
An old Scottish Hogmanay custom
First footing is a Scottish tradition that involves the first visitor after midnight exchanging gifts of food and drink with the host - to include whisky, shortbread and fruit cake. Traditionally, this list also included a lump of coal, and salt. This custom would bring luck in the coming year.
Tradition has it that the first foot should be a tall, dark male who has not been in that house previously that evening.
In modern times, the practice is more likely to involve visitors arriving on New Year's Day or the official national holiday of 2 January, and receiving hospitality from their hosts. Whisky and other alcoholic beverages are commonly part of this.
Several customs particular to local areas of Scotland also persist, including the swinging of fireballs in Stonehaven and burning juniper branches in the Highlands to protect the house. Hogmanay celebrations in St Andrews would include the bakers making cakes for the town's children, and the ancient town of Falkland, also in Fife on the East coast of Scotland, was the scene for a torchlit procession up the local hill (source Wikipedia).
Hogmany Fireworks in Edinburgh
Hogmanay Fireworks at Edinburgh Castle
And the famous street party in Princes Street
Edinburgh Castle, at the centre of the Scottish capital city, has for many years been the focal point of the nation's Hogmanay celebrations. The Hogmanay Street Party is a world-famous event that attracts thousands each year, with tickets greatly sought after. The street party is in fact just one of a series of events that also includes torchlight processions (as seen in the picture in the introduction).
The televised event includes dancing to live bands and culminates in a glorious fireworks display.
Image shared by theedinburghblog on flickr.
Music: Pipes and Drums
For a true Scottish style celebration, you need Scottish music. And that means bagpipes and drums. This CD is authentic Scottish music played by the Grampian Police Pipe Band. 20 favourite Scottish tunes include Amazing Grace and Flower of Scotland.
View the Edinburgh Hogmanay Celebrations! - Watch the Edinburgh New Year's Eve fireworks
If you can't be in the Scottish capital for Hogmany, this video will let you share in the amazing fireworks display in the center of Edinburgh.
Learn More about the Celebrations for Hogmanay in Scotland - The Street Parties start here!
- Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party
Edinburgh's Hogmanay party is always one to remember
- Glasgow's Hogmanay | Glasgow | Welcome to Scotland
Glasgow's Hogmanay, Glasgow, Scotland A Family day, with events to suit the whole family. George Square, Glasgow
- Edinburgh's Hogmanay | whatsonwhen from Frommer
The showpiece concert in Princes Street Gardens is always eagerly anticipated and has counted such names as Kasabian, Madness, Groove Armada and The Proclaimers among former headliners. Other highlights include the Torchlit Procession and Fire Festiv
- Stonehaven Fireball Festival
Annual procession keeping an ancient custom alive, where 45 participants swing blazing balls of fire above their heads. They finish off by throwing the fireballs into the sea at the harbour.
Outside of Scotland, Hogmanay is also celebrated in the English town of Corby which experienced a high influx of Scottish workers in the 1930s.
(Thanks to Ricky MacLeod for sharing this fact!)
For your own Hogmanay celebrations...
For a traditional Hogmanay celebration, you will need:
- Whisky ('whisky' is the Scots spelling, some just call whisky from Scotland 'Scotch'; 'whiskey' is correct spelling for the Irish variety)
- Whisky glasses to toast your friends and loved ones
- Something to eat - shortbread is a great choice, or why not try some whisky fruit cake (also a traditional favorite)
- Plenty of music including the traditional bagpipes and drums playing old Scottish airs
Wishing you all the best for Hogmanay and for the year ahead!