Read about Hogmanay  and  First  Footing to learn Scottish traditions.

Lang may yer lum reek!

May you live long and well!

At midnight on 31st December throughout Great Britain people celebrate the coming of the New Year, by holding hands in a large circle and singing a song:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And old lang syne?

For old lang syne, my dear,

For old lang syne,

We’ll take the cup of kindness yet,

For old lang syne!

“For old lang syne” means “in memory of past times” and the words were written by Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. He wrote much of his poetry in the Scots dialect of English.

New Year’s Eve is a more important festival in Scotland than it is in England, and it even has a special name, Hogmanay. It is not clear where the word “Hogmanay” comes from, but it is connected with the provision of food and drink for all visitors to your home on 31st December.

It was believed that the first person to visit one’s house on New Year’s Day could bring good or bad luck. Therefore, people tried to arrange for the person of their own choice to be standing outside their houses ready to be let in the moment midnight had come. Usually a dark-complexioned man was chosen, and never a woman, for she would bring a bad luck. The first-footer was required to carry three articles: a piece of coal to wish warmth, a piece of bread to wish food, and a silver coin to wish wealth. In some northern parts of Scotland this pleasing custom is still observed.