Saturday, 31 December 2005

Happy New Year.

                    

 

                                   

I have been promising you this week I would tell you about New Year up here in Scotland. When I was a wee girl New Year was much bigger occasion than Christmas, we had presents but there was not a Christmas Dinner probable because Christmas day was a working day, our holiday was two days at the New year.  I remember I used to lie in my bed and listen to all the people coming up the hill where I lived in Dundee , singing and wishing everybody they met A Happy New Year. When I was older Mum and Dad took me down the town to see the festivities for myself. There were many stall selling paper hats and the like but the thing that caught my eye was pairs of kippers all dressed up in paper dresses and hats I don't know where this custom came from, I wish I knew, it maybe had something to do with the fishing industry that was on the River Tay. My Gran'dad had his own fishing boat but that's another story. After we saw all the fancy stalls we would stand and wait for 12 o'clock in the city square where at midnight they would fire off a single rocket to let everyone know it was New year.  As I was still young that was it for me we walked home and so to bed.   When Stuart and I started courting I was allowed out late.  On Hogmanay we would either go to a party or go to a dance somewhere. Dances always finished early about 11.30 so you had time to get to where you wanted to be for Midnight.  Usually we went out in a small crowd about 6-8 people. After the rocket went off we would set off to go "First footing." Now this has many rituals to be a "First Foot" (first foot over the threshold) you have to be male dark haired and you cannot go into a house empty handed. You must take a small gift in with you. This could be Chocolates a packet of tea, salt, shortbread or the likes of  a piece of coal was said to be very lucky andit was put on the fire straight away.  After everybody wished everybody in the house  "Happy new Year" you would be given a drink and a piece of cake or shortbread.  We would stay for about half an hour then we would set off on foot for the next house on our list.  We tried to get to all the parents houses on Hogmanay depending where they stayed. We were lucky we all stayed in the west end of the city so we could get round quite a lot.  Everybody you met in the street would wish you a Happy new Year and everybody was in good spirits.  There were no cars on the road and no taxis, we all walked.  When we had all had enough of the festivities we would head back home.  Later that day after our New Years Day Meal we would meet up again and start over getting to all the places we had not been to the night before this could go on till the 3rd of January. When you have your own home it is a bit different the other traditions that are upheld are the cleaning of the house, changing of beds etc. then about 11 30pm you cut the cake, Black Bun Madeira lay out shortbread get out the Glasses and the bottle of Whisky ready for your first foot. One ritual was for the bins, a strange one this,all indoor bins had to be emptied before the stroke of midnight (out with the old year) you never empty your indoor bins on New Years Day and I still keep to that one to this day. New Years day saw the New Years Day meal which is to this day home made soup Steak Pie mashed potatoes etc. So really we have gained in holidays now, as we have all the Christmas Celebrations and then we have New Year as well. It is not nearly such a huge occasion as it was when we were younger but there is still a lot goes on.  There are big street parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow with big firework displays and music from live bands. I will now have to go and do a bit of housework but not the amount I used to do , so all of you We wish you a Very happy New Year.    Love. Stuart & 

8 comments:

jeanno43 said...

Fascinating memories of Hogmany and your childhood. I remember my Scots grandmother always got someone to first-foot with a lump of coal, I always think of her at this time of the year.  Happy New Year to you and Stuart.

http://journals.aol.co.uk/jeanno43/JeannettesJottings/

aniracj said...

Have a very Happy Hogmanay, love from Joan & Robbie.

ally123130585918 said...

Thanks for that Joan, had been looking forward to hearing about your Hogmanay  -  Wonder why they dressed the kippers up!!!!! I bet you had fun First Footing - I did hear about coal being very lucky...I hope you and Stuart have a wonderful 2006.....Ally

adlessor said...

What an intersting entry.  I love reading about different customs. Happy New Year to you and yours.    Dawn

msecz said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks a lot for the interesting story , Sandra

labdancer51 said...

A great story Joan, it would be nice if we had something like that down here. I don`t think we really have any traditions really. :o(  I hope you both have a lovely eveing and Happy New Year!  :o)

Sandra xxxxx

jeadie05 said...

Fasinating thanks for that Joan ,Im now of to empty the bin in the Kitchen ,lol we never wash cloths on new years day ,Hope you and Stuart have a healthy happy blessed 2006 ........... From Maurice and I with love          Jan xx

haileen2003 said...

With Lots of Love and good wishes for 2006
From Aileen & Allan...X