What is Hogmanay?

Hogmanay is the word used to describe the very distinctive  Scottish celebration of New Years's Eve. This includes the singing of Auld Lang Syne while linking arms - a tradition has spread across the world. 

First Footing

Other famous customs include 'first-footing' - the welcoming the first visitor to the house after midnight. First footers are encouraged to carry a lump of coal and gifts of whisky and shortbread. 

Luck-bringing tall dark strangers only, please. Blondes need not apply.

Origin of the word Hogmanay

There are a number of not entirely convincing theories:
  • Hoggo-nott was a Scandinavian word for the shortest day. Evidently they needed work on their calendars as this is the 21st December.
  • The Flemish phrase hoog min dag means "great love day". This has not always apparent in the fiery eyes of dedicated revelers.
  • The Gaelic for “new morning” is oge maiden.
  • Homme est nĂ© is French for "Man is born".