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Happy Hogmanay!

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Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Hogmanay (the last day of the year)

Hogmanay ([ˌhɔɡməˈneː] hog-mə-nay) is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of theNew Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.

The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances. Customs vary throughout Scotland, and usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours, with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.”

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Traditionally, our family has the same Hogmanay every year. About 10.30pm all the good TV shows start. It’s a night of laughter, drinking and shortbread. Yum!

Over the years, we’ve watched Rab C Nesbitt, It’s Only An Excuse, Still Game, Hogmanay Live with Jackie Bird (featuring Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham), Jools Holland Hootenanny! and so much more. Follow the links for a taster, if you’re not familiar with the shows, but be warned – they are not for the faint of heart and they’re all 18+ ONLY. And if you can’t understand what they’re saying, I apologise. They’re the broadest Scottish accents you could ask for. 🙂

In fact, there’s so much on that we usually record one channel for watching the next day, just so we don’t miss anything.

And, of course, there’s Auld Land Syne. We all hold hands (if we can – we may be drunk or asleep by then 😉 ) and sing along with Hogmanay Live or Jools Holland. Either way, it’s never missed!

Then, as the countdown is drawing to an end, my dad goes outside with a packet of shortbread (I know, weird, but wait for it!) and after midnight, he’s the first person through the door. The first footing. This is tradition and something we never miss out on. It’s supposed to be good luck. Here’s the history behind it –

“”First footing” (or the “first foot” in the house after midnight) is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first foot should be a dark male, and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark male bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your door step with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year!”

You can read more Hogmanay traditions here.

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And the picture above? Well, your “lum” is your chimney. And “reek” is smoke. So “long may your chimney smoke”.

“Lang may yer lum reek” (a Hogmanay greeting, implying “May you never be without fuel for your fire!”, but more literally translates to “Long may your chimney smoke!”)” ~ Wikipedia

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