HOGMANAY & NEW YEAR'S EVE
The magical firework display and torchlight procession in Edinburgh on Hogmanay (the Scottish New Year celebration) - and throughout many cities in Scotland - is reminiscent of the ancient customs of long ago practiced to ensure a prosperous new year.
Traditional ceremonies of yesteryear would involve people dressing up in the hides of cattle and raucously running around the village being hitting each other with sticks! Other festivities would also include the lighting of bonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels down hills and tossing torches. Animal hide wrapped around sticks and ignited produced a smoke that was believed to be very effective to ward off evil spirits. The smoking stick was also known as a Hogmanay.
"First footing" (that is, the "first foot" in the house after midnight) was a new year's tradition which would ensure good luck for a household. The "first foot" should be male, dark-haired (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble) and should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky.
Other good luck traditions to be performed before midnight include cleaning the house on 31st December (taking out any old ashes from the fire), and clearing all your debts before "the bells" at midnight.
Happy Hogmanay and Guid Luck for the New Year!
Scroll down for the seasonal collection, and for more details about the tartans and their inspiration, click any picture to visit these individual entries on the Curious and Unusual Tartans website, where the tartans are arranged within the calendar year.
Edinburgh FireworksIn Shetland, New Year is called ‘Yules’ from the Viking word for the season.
Scandinavians still celebrate ‘Hoggo-nott’, and the Flemish word ‘hoog min dag’ means “great love day”.
Another possible origin is the Anglo-Saxon ‘Haleg Monath’, for Holy Month, or the Gaelic, ‘oge maidne’ for ‘new morning’.
But most scholars believe Hogmanay derives from the Old French aguillanneuf, ‘to the New Year’, which becomes hoguinané in the Norman dialect.
French: Bonne Année!
Spanish: ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Icelandic: Gleðilegt nýtt ár!
Dutch: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Italian: Buon anno!
Later on, the English and Germans would celebrate by kissing the first person they met when the bells tolled twelve o’clock. The folklore behind this tradition says that the first person you encounter in a new year – and the type of encounter you have – sets the tone for the rest of the year.