Posts Tagged ‘Happy New Year’

Hogmanay-Scots New Years

By Collette Cameron

A guid New Year to ane an` a` and mony may ye see!


“Comrie Flambeaux Procession – geograph.org.uk – 314153″ by Anne Burgess. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –


One of the main reasons I enjoy writing historical romances so much is the fun snippets of authentic history I get to sprinkle throughout my stories. My latest novel culminates around the Christmas season which was well and good for my hero (he’s British) but my heroine is Scottish, and the Scot’s didn’t celebrate Christmas.

So, she set about educating her beau-turned-husband on one of Scotland’s most celebrated festivals, Hogmanay.

The origin of Hogmanay is unclear, though several theories have developed regarding the start of the once pagan festival.

Some attribute the celebration to the Flemish influence in Scotland because “hoog min dag” means “great love day”. However, Hogmanay is most often credited to the French expression “Homme est né” or “Man is born.”

Some historians still insist “Hoggo-nott” which was a Scandinavian feast, birthed the tradition (think Vikings invaders) while others argue the Anglo-Saxon words “Haleg Monath” is where the word Hogmanay came from.

Whatever the source, the Scots love the day and celebrate with typical Scottish gusto and enthusiasm.

Here are some of the most common Hogmanay traditions:

First-footing-It was good luck to have a tall, dark, gift-bearing male be your first guest of the New Year. Slam the door in a fair-haired person’s face if they were the first to visit for it portended bad luck. (Those Vikings again!) Whisky and shortbread were gifts traditionally offered and often are today still.

Redding-A not so fun tradition consisting of cleaning the house thoroughly on December 31st (including the fireplaces ashes) to usher in the New Year. (You wouldn’t want a dirty house when that handsome, dark-haired fellow showed up!)

Actually, the custom was rooted in the idea of cleaning out the old year to usher in the new.

Handsel Day (Handselling)-This is a nearly extinct tradition where on the first Monday of the New Year, small gifts were given to children and servants.

Auld Lange Syne At midnight, everyone sings the tune Robert Frost made famous, though he based the tune on an earlier piece.

Torch and Bonfire Ceremonies –Today, firework displays and torchlight processions take the place of ancient pagan practices. In times past, hides were wrapped around sticks and lit on fire because the smoke was thought to ward off evil spirits. Torch tossing, rolling ignited tar-filled barrels down a hill, and lighting a huge bonfire were all part of the Hogmanay celebration as well.

It’s a good thing January 2nd is a holiday in Scotland!

I wonder, have you ever sung Auld Lange Syne? Were you aware of its Scots roots?



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I’d like to thank all of you for supporting me this year. I’ve had a great time reading your excerpts and comments. For those of you who didn’t post, just knowing you came by made a difference. Personally and professionally, this has been an amazing year for me. I’ve met so many new friends and, as many of you know, my first three books will be published in the autumn. So, again, thank you so much for your support. I means the world to me.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Christmas card
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
We’ll start the New Year with a bang on Friday, January 4th as the multi-talented, Regency author Vicky Dreiling joins me to discuss writing Regency and her latest release. I’ll resume posting excerpts on the 7th.
For those of you who are interested, my first three books, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh and Lord Beaumont’s Bride will be published starting sometime in late summer or early autumn. Signup to receive my newsletter for all the updates.

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