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Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and issynonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner.It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which laststhrough the night until the morning of New Years Day. There are many theories about the derivation of the word"Hogmanay". The Scandinavian word for the feast preceding Yule was"Hoggo-nott" while the Flemish words "hoog min dag" means "great loveday". Hogmanay could also be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon, Halegmonath, Holy Month, or the Gaelic, oge maidne, new morning. But the mostlikely source seems to be the French. "Homme est ne" or "Man is born"while in France the last day of the year when gifts were exchanged was"aguillaneuf" while in Normandy presents given at that time were"hoguignetes".
Historians believe that we inherited the celebration from theVikings. In Shetland, where the Viking influence was strongest, New Yearis called Yules, from the Scandinavian word. It may not be widely known but Christmas was not celebrated as afestival and virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from theend of the 17th century to the 1950s. The reason for this has its roots inthe Protestant Reformation when the Kirk portrayed Christmas as aPopish or Catholic feast and therefore had to be banned. Many Scots hadto work over Christmas and their winter solstice holiday was therefore atNew Year when family and friends gathered for a party and exchangepresents, especially for the children, which came to be called hogmanay.
There are traditions before midnight such as cleaning thehouse on 31st December (including taking out the ashes from the firein the days when coal fires were common). There is also thesuperstition to clear all your debts before "the bells" at midnight. Immediately after midnight it is traditional to sing RobertBurns "For Auld Lang Syne". Burns claimed it was based on an earlierfragment and certainly the tune was in print over 80 years before hepublished his version in 1788.
An integral part of the Hogmanay partying, which continuesvery much today, is to welcome friends and strangers, with warmhospitality and of course a kiss to wish everyone a Guid New Year. Theunderlying belief is to clear out the vestiges of the old year, have aclean break and welcome in a young, New Year on a happy note. "First footing" (that is, the "first foot" in the house aftermidnight) is still common in Scotland. To ensure good luck for thehouse, the first foot should be male, dark (believed to be a throwbackto the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstepmeant trouble) and should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt, blackbun and whisky. These days, however, whisky and perhaps shortbreadare the only items still prevalent (and available).
The magical Firework display and torchlightprocession in Edinburgh - and throughout many cities inScotland - is reminiscent of the ancient custom at ScottishHogmanay pagan parties hundreds of years ago. The traditional New Year ceremony of yesteryearwould involve people dressing up in the hides of cattle andrunning around the village being hit by sticks. Thefestivities would also include the lighting ofbonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels down the hill andtossing torches. Animal hide was also wrapped aroundsticks and ignited which produced a smoke that wasbelieved to be very effective to ward off evil spirits. Thesmoking stick was also known as a Hogmanay. Some of these customs do continue, especially in thesmall, older communities in the Highlands and Islands ofScotland where tradition, along with language and dialect
Scottish people say goodbay to theOld New Year by rolling through thestreets burning barrels thatsymbolized the end of the old year. Traditional ScottishChristmas dishes arepudding, oatcakes, appledumplings, boiled goose or steak.
Good luck in the new year for the owners depends on who will be their firstChristmas visitor: it is believed that the greatest good fortune bring a dark-haired man. At midnight, the door of the house should be open wide to the Old Year was free to leave the house.
These people started the New Year with a reallyunusual - swimmingin the icy water of the river Forth. Swimming on the first day of NewYear is a tradition in Scotland. Many participants at «Hogmanay bathing» dress up in different
Traditional drink is thepunch. It consists of fivecomponents: any grapewine (oftenchampagne), vodka orrum, tea, sugar, lemonjuice (two to threealcoholic soft component).Punch brewed in a silver January 1 all who havepot.stood on their feet, in thehour of the day satisfiedwith cheerful race on themain street of the oldtown - with songs, masksand merry shouts. A fewhours later in HolyroodPark open sled dog race.