I’m writing this on Hogmanay, 31 December. Hogmanay has always been a celebration in Scotland, much more so than Christmas in the past. My grandmother, born in 1887, was at school on Christmas Day at least once. My mother, who is now 90, would hang up a stocking on Hogmanay when she and her cousins stayed at her aunts’ farm. We always had a special dinner on New Year’s Day, something which really surprises my English husband.
First footing is/was a very important part of Hogmanay/New Year, calling on friends and family, maybe with a wee dram. A tall, dark, handsome first foot was considered good luck. As a child, I was always first in through the door at our neighbours, ahead of my rather fairer sister. As well as the drams, shortbread and currant bun, also known as black bun, were part of the overall jollifications.
The Scots Language Centre has some great information on Hogmanay and New Year. You’ll find the words for Auld Lang Syne and A guid new year to ane an aa there.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016 – and every success with family history!
If you are in the Stirling area, I’m looking at running some family history classes in 2016. Do get in touch if you are interested.