Scotland is renowned for celebrating New Year in great style and Edinburgh has become the New Year destination for thousands of revellers every year. The concert in the gardens is already sold out but there are still tickets for the street party and the old town ceilidh but along with lots of partying, dancing and drinking there are actually some traditions that we are supposed to follow before we bring in 2016.
Tradition dictates that we should clean the house and take out the ashes from the fire before 31st December, and all debts should be cleared before "the bells" sound at midnight, with the idea that you start the new year afresh. Sounds like a good idea to me!
My favourite bit of New Year is the singing of For Auld Lang Syne just after midnight and the joining of hands and celebration of friendship which feels good whether you are ceilidh'ing in your tartan with hundreds of others or just at home with a few friends.
Auld Lang Syne
Auld Lang SyneAnd for auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne, Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days o' auld lang syne. And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp! And surely I'll be mine! And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne. We twa hae run about the braes And pu'd the gowans fine; But we've wander'd mony a weary foot Sin auld lang syne. We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn, Frae mornin' sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar'd Sin auld lang syne. And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie's a hand o' thine! And we'll tak a right guid willy waught, For auld lang syne.
|Translated - Old Long Past And for old long past, my joy, For old long past, We will take a cup of kindness yet, For old long past, Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, And days of old long past. And surely you will pay for your pint And surely I will pay for mine! And we will take a cup of kindness yet, For old long past. We two have run about the hillsides And pulled the wild daisies fine; But we have wandered many a weary foot Since old long past. We two have paddled in the stream, From morning sun till noon; But seas between us broad have roared Since old long past. And there is a hand, my trusty friend! And give me a hand of yours! And we will take a right good-will drink, For old long past.|
"First footing" is the other great tradition in Scotland and in return for a warm welcome you should arrive on the doorstep with a piece of coal, some shortbread, salt, black bun or whisky.
These are the traditional things to do at New Year but most families or groups of friends have their own traditions and we would love to hear what yours are. Here in the Borders if you really have lost your marbles you can join in the Loony Dook on New Year's day and jump into the freezing cold waters of the north sea at Coldingham beach. Last year we walked up Arthur's Seat (the great big craggy hill that looms over Edinburgh) to chase away the cobwebs and admire the view of our capital city from above. Of course we are lucky in Scotland to have the 2nd of January as a holiday so after the fun of Hogmanay the party can continue.
The famous fireworks and torchlight procession in Edinburgh do actually have a historical background and are reminiscent of Hogmanay pagan celebrations where bonfires were lit, blazing tar barrels were rolled down hills and lit torches were tossed. In the north east of Scotland fire ceremonies still take place and Stonehaven is apparently the most spectacular if you want to experience the warding off of evil spirits.
If you need some tartan to wear for your new year's celebration remember to order now as we are closed from Christmas Eve until 29th December.