Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Hogmanay Today.

Happy Hogmanay Today.
I would like to wish you all a very happy Hogmanay today/ tomorrow. But just in case (like me) you had no real idea what Hogmanay is, I will share with you briefly some of what the on-line dictionary says about it.
“Hog`ma*nay"\, n. The old name, in Scotland, for the last day of the year, on which children go about singing, and receive a dole of bread or cakes; also, the entertainment given on that day to a visitor, or the gift given to an applicant. [Scot.]”
Apparently, up to the 1960s, Scotland did not officially recolonise Christmas/Boxing Day as official Holidays etc, and so Hogmanay became their time of gift giving etc.
They also have their own unique way of bringing in the New Year. Whilst we tend to wait up till midnight and then having seen in the New Year, head to bed. There, Midnight is only when the celebrations Begin.
According to “” they have many customs depending on the locality but the main custom is called “first footing;” I quote: “There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses until 3 January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year, so it is important that a suitable person does the job. A tall, handsome, and dark-haired man bearing a gift is strongly preferred. According to popular folklore, a man with dark hair was welcomed because he was assumed to be a fellow Scotsman; a blond or red-haired stranger was assumed to be an unwelcome Norseman.”
Well tonight, I am going to leave the “First footing” to someone else. And if I do make it up to midnight, well then that will be enough for Me! Still, whether you party on to the 2nd or 3rd or not, I do hope a dark haired Stranger will cross your doorstep in the New Year and with good cheer too.
So as I started this Blog I close: Happy Hogmanay and also a very, very Happy New Year too!

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