In two more days, we will be ringing in the new year, welcoming 2015.
As with most special events and holidays, celebrations around the world vary depending on the culture.
Hogmanay is celebrated on New Year’s Eve, every
year, usually in a most exuberant fashion in
Scotland as revellers take to the streets to see in the New Year.
Celebrations start in the early evening and reach a crescendo by
midnight. Minutes before the start of new year, alone piper plays, bells chime at the turn of
midnight, lots of kissing, and everyone sings Auld Lang Syne.
Elsewhere in Scotland, particularly in more
remote parts, customary first footing and
Scottish dances, or ceilidhs (pronounced
“kayli”), take place. For centuries, fire
ceremonies — torch-light processions, fireball
swinging and lighting of New Year fires — played
an important part in the Hogmanay celebrations. And they still do.
Lets not forget about First Footing!
Traditionally, it has believed that your new year will be a prosperous
one if, at the stroke of midnight, a “tall, dark stranger” appears at your door with a lump of
coal for the fire, or a cake or coin. In exchange, you offered him food, wine or a wee
dram of whisky, or the traditional Het Pint, which is a combination of ale, nutmeg and whisky.
It’s been suggested that the fear associated with blond strangers arose from the memory of
blond-haired Viking’s invasions and pillaging Scotland circa 4th to 12th centuries. What’s more a red-haired first footer is said to bring bad luck.
In many parts of Scotland gifts or “Hogmanays” are exchanged after the turn of midnight. Because the celebration of Christmas was banned for many centuries in Scotland, Hogmanay because the primary way to welcome the new year and celebrate the winter solstice.
The first Monday of the New Year is Hansel ( also spelled handsel)
Monday, traditionally the day on which gifts were
exchanged in Scotland. The “handsel” refers to small tips and gifts of money that it was
customary to give to servants and the needy at the beginning of the first
working week of a new year. In this respect it is somewhat similar to Boxing Day. The word handsel is also believed to be related to Old Norse handsal, s promise sealed with a handshake