Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hogmany 2011


Since becoming a Scottish Laird last year I've had to brush up on my knowledge of local holiday customs. Nothing is more conspicuous or off putting than the no-nothing American in with a band of locals, keeping ancient traditions alive.

The Scottish New Year Eve celebration derives from the Viking tradition aided unwittingly by dour Methodists and the Church of Scotland. For 400 years, until the 1950's, The Church forbade Christmas celebrations in Scotland. Their belief was that Christmas was a papist feast, something Scots should have no hand in. So the Scots worked Christmas and celebrated the winter solstice at New Year's Eve parties, Hogmanies, where friends would gather and gifts would be exchanged,whisky shared, Auld Lang Syne sung at midnight along with ample kissing under the mistletoe.

After midnight "First Footing" is still practiced. The first guest for the new year should be a dark haired man bearing the symbolic gifts of salt, bread, coal and a wee dram of spirits. A blond headed man would never due. The Vikings were blond, and when they showed at your door historically it meant trouble.

My Irish male relations would prefer a lusty, blond, whisky bearing, woman be their first New Year's visitor although not a one would have a clue how to keep her entertained before mother returned home.

Whatever your practice, be safe (ish). Be a bit naughty but don't get caught. Lie if you must. I'll leave the light on for ya, see ya next year. Happy New Year.

Laird Toad

9 comments:

Martha said...

Happy New Year to you too!!!

YONKS said...

Happy New Year Toad! I have always fancied the idea of spending Hogmany up in the Highlands. I married a real Laird. It's now my last name. I still can't quite get that rolling of the "R" quite right though :-)

Suburban Princess said...

Happy Hogmanay!

Did I ever tell you my son's middle name is Laird? I trust you were blown away by the photos of him ;o)

Scale Worm said...

Happy New Year to you Toad and The Mrs.!
May it be a grand one!

Kionon said...

Happy New Year's Toad, and I am thinking of joining you in an adjacent property. Do you mind so much if I pay the 39 pounds required and move in?

LPC said...

Happy New Year! I should root around and come up with some tartan. Next year, as they say, next year...

Toad said...

Kionon, the more the merrier. Come on down the water's fine.

My tiny patch of Scotland has been described as being like the Star Registry, only you can visit when you like.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to the Lord and Lady of Mayberry!

xoxoxoxo

-Flo

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