Dec 31, 2009

Merry Hogmanay or Happy New Year

photo via creative commons by Laurence Arnold
New Years is a major holiday in Scotland called Hogmanay. It's the day gifts are given and on New Year's the house is cleaned in a symbolic whisking out of the old to bring in the new. After the stroke of midnight the first person (called the First Footer) to enter your house should be a tall dark-haired man, usually carrying certain items like a lump of coal and some whiskey (probably because a blond coming to the door--read Viking--meant bad luck.) The origin of the name might be Anglo-Saxon or French one really knows for sure.

But just why do the Scots put more emphasis on the celebration than anyone else? The answer is found (like so many answers are) in history. After the Reformation, the celebration of Christmas (Christ Mass) was associated with the Catholic Church and thus banned (or probably more accurately in more recent years, discouraged) by the Kirk (the Church) in Scotland. One source I read said Christmas was not celebrated until the 1950s in Scotland!

So, New Years was the winter holiday and celebrated with gusto. What song do we all sing at midnight on New Years? Auld Lang Syne, that old Scottish tune!

Right now, in Scotland, the celebration has already begun. In fact, it started two days ago. See what's going on here. Apparently Scottish revelers are in for a cold one this year.

I'm not sure how the Thomson household will celebrate Hogmanay this year, but Tom and I both have Scottish roots. It's certain that our "First Footer" will be a dark haired male. Kyle is the only one using the front the door right now. One thing is for certain, we will not be celebrating with haggis! (Neither on New Years or more traditionally Robert Burns Day.) Yuck! I guess my Scottish roots lose out to American traditions on that one!

Whatever you do to celebrate, enjoy, be safe, and may God bless 2010!

" A guid New Year to ane an' a' and mony may ye see."

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to food, the conditioning our palates have received over the years often trumps any desire to participate more fully in other cultural traditions!