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strange customs (for us)

December 15, 2008

What a great idea youhad about strange customs.

Well, here goes my contribution. Now that Christmas is near, have you heard of hogmanay first footin’?

It’s traditional in Scotland to go “first-footing” on Hogmanay, Auld Year’s Night. Immediately after midnight, you have to try to be the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and bring symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today),coal, shortbread, whisky  (hawf a bottle to offer a wee dram) and black bun so as  to bring different kinds of luck . So in Scotland it is common to drink and eat till early hours of the morning of Ne’erday (1st January) and even well into the day . Therefore, the 2nd of January is a bank holiday there.

The first person to cross the threshold at Hogmanay brings all the luck, good or bad, for the year ahead. And, to follow in tradition they have to fulfil certain criteria..Traditionally, a man with dark hair was welcomed because he was assumed to be a fellow Scotsman; a blond or red-haired stranger was assumed to be an unwelcome Norseman.

First footing is  a wonderful excuse to go out visiting friends and partying all night.

Some hogmanay toasts

A guid New Year to ane an a’ And mony may ye see
(A good New Year to one and all And many may you see)

Here’s tae us. Wha’s like us. Damn few, and they’re a’ deid!
(Here’s to us. Who’s like us. Not many, and they’re all dead!)

Gaun yoursel’, Big Man!
(You’re a big chap, drinking a lot and are going to continue to do so!)

Gie it laldie!
(Party furiously!)

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