Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hogmanay - A Scottish New Year Celebration
Hull Daily Mail – Tuesday 30 December 1930
Hogmanay is more than just a wildly fun all-night New Years' Eve street party in Edinburgh; it's a long-standing (and apparently somewhat mysterious) tradition that goes back centuries.

Celebrations today may include fire-dancers, fireworks, the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, live music in the streets, dancing, parades and more. Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration is the largest in Scotland, and attracts visitors from around the world.

First Footing is a New Years tradition that begins at midnight and continues into the early morning. This custom involves being (or welcoming) the first person through the threshold of your home for the New Year. This 'first footer' would bring any number of symbolic gifts to the homeowner, each of which would bring a different sort of luck for the year ahead: Salt (for flavour), coal (for warmth), shortbread (for food), or whisky (good cheer). If you are short, blonde, and a female, it is recommended that you not attempt to beat anyone through a Scot's doorway at midnight - you're bad luck. A tall, dark, and handsome man is who's really desired, as it would indicate that that family inside would have a financially prosperous year. The Greeks have a similar tradition.

The Illustrated London News
December 30, 1882
"The First Foot: A Scottish Custom on New Years' Eve"
In preparation for Hogmanay in Upper Canada, Scottish settlers would thoroughly clean their homes, finish any mending that needed to be done, change bedding, do any polishing, pay off any debts and return any items that had been borrowed over the past year - in other words, they would put their lives, homes, and businesses in order for the New Year.

Sources 2014, "Hogmanay FAQs"
Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2014/2015 Website

Further Reading
Wikipedia 2014 "Hogmanay" for an overview of some popular traditions/customs.
Ava Laboy Capo's 2013 Traditions/Superstitions From Around the World!: To Bring in the New Year!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year! Here comes 2015!

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