Hogmanay in Scotland - A New Year Holiday

Greenfaol By Greenfaol, 19th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1qg6feyx/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

Homanay is one of the largest celebrations in Scotland. Why do so many people come so see in the New year? Read on to find out.

Hogmanay in Scotland

The Celebration of Hogmanay originates in Scotland. The Scots have always made a big thing about bringing in the New Year.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not all about alcohol, there are several other customs linked with this Holiday, though many are dying out.

First Footing

This custom originally consisted of the darkest haired youth of the house being the first to step out the door just after midnight, bearing gifts for the neighbours but this tradition has regional variations.

The youth would take food, coin and a lump of coal with them (again, the coal less used now, as fewer homes have fires). This represented health, wealth and warmth. In times gone by, the food would have been bread because bread was a staple in the diet of everyone. Now, it’s more often shortbread.

Why come to Scotland?

Apart from being the birth place of Hogmanay (and please note, I’m stating Hogmanay, not the New Year), we know how to party in style.

Edinburgh is rapidly becoming one of THE places to be for the bells but generally, the whole of Scotland is catching up. People rent cottages in the Highlands or take short breaks in the other major cities in Scotland – Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.


Traditionally, a ceilidh would have been a focal point for a community at this time of year, which has now become the street party.

A ceilidh nowadays is held in a hall or hotel, with music, dancing and singing, usually performed by professional entertainers to a paying crowd or guests. However traditionally, it was a gathering (ceilidh means gathering in gaelic), usually held in a home, often of a respected member of the community. The entertainment was provided by the guests themselves, each taking turns to sign, play dance or tell something. Telling stories was a large part of a traditional ceilidh. The stories were either true, or legends. This was how many local legends were passed on, as much of early Scottish myth and history was oral.

These stories were later captured by the likes of Robert Burns but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.


The New Year starts on the 1st of January. This date was introduced in Roman times, when they started calling it New Years Day. In many parts of Europe they had other days, Christmas Day, Easter, the 25th of March that were counted as the start of the year but the 1st was the date that was actually called New Years Day.


While most people celebrated Christmas and did little to see in the New Year, Scotland has always enjoyed seeing it in with ceilidh’s and family gatherings. It is a time of community, of fun and of sending off the old year with a bang!
Happy New Year!


Calendar, Ceilidh, Dance, Festival Holiday, Hogmanay, Music, New Year, Scotland, Singing, Story Telling, Tradition

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author avatar Greenfaol
I write a variety of things, from health to cooking, to spiritual, to everyday living. Writing is a passion, and I am trying to become a professional.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Dec 2010 (#)

Good article, could have been great. Think about inserting a photo to illustrate each section. A good place to find pictures that are protected under the Creative Commons License which means you can use them free is Morgue File. Here's the link for Morgue File

Keep the articles coming, Norma.

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author avatar Greenfaol
20th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks for that, jerry, really appreciate it. i did try to upload a pic on it last night but it wouldn't upload. Think it was my connection. Thanks for that :D

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Dec 2010 (#)

Norma, depending on the size of the file you may have to re-size the photo before uploading it. If you don't have a program to re-size pictures PIXesizer is an excellent free program to handle that task. Here's a link to where you can download the program.
I use this program myself. I have a tutorial here on Wikinut on how to use the program. Here's the link

Keep the width of your photos at 500 pixels or under for uploading to sites like Wikinut.

I don't know if you have a broadband connection or a dial up connection. If you are using dial up, you will have problems uploading full size photos. The re-sized ones should upload but will take longer than it would with a broadband connection.

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author avatar Tony Payne
20th Dec 2010 (#)

I always think of Scotland when I think New Year, and the joys of Haggis :)

It always makes me remember New Years Eve on television years ago, the White Heather Club and Moira Anderson - incredibly boring for a young boy :)

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author avatar Carol
20th Dec 2010 (#)

Lovely, happy new year to you too

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author avatar Greenfaol
20th Dec 2010 (#)

Jerry - I don't have either - we have a dongle - it uses mobile phone signals Thanks so much for the info on the size :D
Tony - LOL! Remember it well and it was very boring for a kid (actually for many grown ups too :D)
Cheers Carol :D

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author avatar Denise O
21st Dec 2010 (#)

Sounds like a great way to celebrate to me.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar christopheranton
21st Dec 2010 (#)

They certainly know how to enjoy
themselves in Bonny Scotland.
Thanks for an entertaining article.

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