December 31, 2016

Happy Hogmanay!

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year, or New Year’s Eve.  Customs vary throughout Scotland, however, they traditionally include giving of gifts and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours.  Special attention is given to the first-foot, a Scottish and Northern English custom, established in folklore. The first-foot is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day, regarded as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year. The first-foot usually brings several gifts, perhaps a coin, bread, salt, coal, or a drink (usually whisky), which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, and good cheer.

Another custom which is prevalent in Scottish celebrations and others is the singing of Auld Lang Syne, a poem by Scottish poet Robbie Burns, written in 1788.  The tune to which it is traditionally sung is an old Scottish folk tune.

From all of us at the Oshawa Museum, Happy Hogmanay and Happy New Year!

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