You read it right...Happy Hogmanay!
Only one nation in the world celebrates the New Year or Hogmanay with such revelry and passion – the Scots!
It is believed that many of the traditional Hogmanay celebrations were originally brought to Scotland by the invading Vikings in the early 8th and 9th centuries. These Norsemen, or men from an even more northerly latitude than Scotland, paid particular attention to the arrival of the Winter Solstice or the shortest day, and fully intended to celebrate its passing with some serious partying.
When the clock strike midnight on 31st December, fireworks explode in Scotland. Crowds gather and the party begins to the tune of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne.
Traditions and superstitions related to Hogmanay:
One should clean the house on December 31st (this includes taking out the ashes from the fire).
One should clear all your debts before "the bells" ring at midnight.
One should welcome friends and strangers with warm hospitality and a kiss and to wish everyone a Guid New Year. It is verra important to clear out the vestiges of the old year before you welcome in a young, New Year.
"First footing" is still common in Scotland. To ensure good luck, the first person to enter your home should be male, dark (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble) This male should bring coal, shortbread, salt, black buns and whisky.
"Handselling" is the custom of gift giving on the first Monday of the New Year. So be sure to present your loved ones with a Hogmanay gift this year.