Once the Christmas festivities are over, attention will quickly turn to New Year’s Eve. In Scotland, the celebrations are not just preserved for December 31st. Hogmanay lasts three to five days and involves street parties and fire festivals across the country.
While the origin of the word for this flamboyant celebration is still a little hazy, the traditions are strong and extremely fun.
If you want to celebrate Hogmanay in style, you need to add a few traditions to your party.
The Redding and Saining of the House
Cleaning rituals are part of every culture. Jewish tradition is to clean the kitchen for Passover, while Chinese families traditionally clean their homes right before New Year.
Similarly, as part of Hogmanay, the New Year is welcomed with a clean-up, as you will need to drive out the evil spirits before the year begins. When the cleaning is done, you’ll go through each room carrying a smoking juniper branch.
The smoke and the scent will chase away the bad stuff and help you start your year – and the party – without pestering evil spirits.
First-Footing for Future Fortunes
Hogmanay is closely associated with another fun tradition and that’s called the first-footing. The tradition is one in which the first person to enter your home after midnight on New Year’s Eve is supposed to bring gifts and a lump of coal.
Who the person is, is believed to affect your future fortunes, so choose carefully!
Traditional Hogmanay Foods
No party is a good party without some great food and drinks. Since Hogmanay is a huge Scottish festivity, the drink of choice is whisky. Serve it on its own or in cocktails – if it’s freezing cold, a hot toddy will be most welcome!
For food, you can’t have a proper Hogmanay without black bun. The fruitcake is garnished with raisins, almonds, cinnamon and black pepper. In fact, it’s often brought to parties as part of the first-footing ritual. You should also treat your guests to neeps and tatties, pairing this delicious potato and turnip dish with a steak pie.
Folk Music to Sing Along With
Music is an essential part of any party and Hogmanay is no different. You can respect the tradition by having a folk band play the best local tunes. The party must, of course, end with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. This is the Hogmanay song, although no one really knows why!
At Freak Music we still have plenty of acts with availability for New Year’s Eve.
A Bonfire to Light Up the Night
Fire is a central part of Hogmanay and you should be looking to incorporate it into your party. You should have plenty of candles to add to the atmosphere of the party indoors, but outside, a bonfire would be the perfect addition, space and safety permitting!
If you can’t create a bonfire in the garden, you can always have big wooden logs lit up like candles for similar effect.
Celebrating Hogmanay in the traditional manner is the best way to welcome the New Year. What do you have planned for your party?