Friday, 31 December 2010

Hogmanay

Today is Hogmanay here in Scotland - the last day of the year. 
When I was young, traditionally it was a day when the house got cleaned ready for any visitors who may arrive in the evening.  Just before midnight there would be a bustle of activity - shortbread, madeira cake and sultana cake were cut up and put out, drinks poured and everyone gathered round the TV or radio to hear the bells chime midnight!  Then we wished all those around us a happy new year - and waited for our "first foot".  This is supposed to be a tall, dark haired man and he can't arrive empty handed!  Sometimes, one of the men would go out the back door and come in the front door - just for good luck.  Then we'll all have a few drinks and a laugh and probably sing a few Scottish songs.  In those days people used to go out and visit neighbours and friends, but that doesn't happen so much now.  We still keep many of the old customs - we always welcome the New Year with a wee drink!
Midnight is known as "the Bells" - church bells ring and here all the ships on the river sound their foghorns.  It's bad luck to wish anyone a happy new year until after midnight, so until then we say "all the best when it comes"!

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