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December 31, 2020

Scottish New Year Traditions

New Year Traditions

We have lots of people of English and Scottish descent in the community where we live, so I’ve been hearing a lot about first-footing and mutters of lumps of coal.

I had NO idea what they were talking about, so I decided to find out so as not to appear dim-witted.
Here are some Scottish Hogmanay traditions:

1. At midnight, most sing Robbie Burns’s poem, Auld Lang Syne.

This song refers to old or times past, which makes it the perfect song to sing at the beginning of a new year when we are looking back and also ahead to the future.

2. First-footing refers to the first person to enter the house after midnight. There are specific requirements for first-footing. The person should be a dark-haired male. He should carry with him a piece of coal, a dram of whisky, shortbread, salt, and black bun. It’s thought that this tradition relates back to the time of the Viking raids. If a blond Viking came to your door, it was more likely he was carrying an enormous sword and intended the residents’ harm, therefore it was luckier to discover a man with dark hair.

The purpose of first-footing is to bring good luck for the rest of the year.

Happy New Year to you. May 2021 bring you joy and prosperity.