Scottish New Year Festival Essay

New Year’s Eve celebrations start in the evening on 31 December in the UK. Some young people go to parties and others stay at home with their family. After the celebrations, it’s traditional to make plans for the new year on 1 January. These plans are called ‘New Year’s resolutions’ and the idea is to make some positive changes in your life. Some of the most popular resolutions are: to do more exercise, to stop smoking, to eat more healthily, to save money and to learn something new.

We asked young people around the UK about their plans and resolutions for the new year.

In Scotland, we celebrate Hogmanay at New Year. Last year I went to Edinburgh, our capital city, to the Hogmanay Street Party. It was epic! There were lots of cool bands – I saw Kasabian and Franz Ferdinand. The fireworks were amazing too. I think there were nearly 100,000 people there! I’m going again this year. My resolutions for this year are to be nicer to my little brother, spend less money on clothes and stop biting my nails.
Mary, 17, Glasgow

What are my plans? Well, I’m going swimming with my parents on the New Year’s Day swim this year. It’s freezing cold in the water but it is a fun way to start the year. Quite a lot of people meet on Brighton beach for this first swim of the year. I hope it doesn’t snow! I won’t be partying the night before because I’m not really a party kind of person. My family usually have a quiet evening and watch the celebrations on TV. My resolutions are to do my homework on time, eat less junk food, save up for a motorbike and remember my girlfriend’s birthday this year!
Ben, 16, Brighton

This New Year’s Eve I’m going to the centre of Newcastle with my sisters and friends to see in the new year. I love being in a crowd when the clocks strike midnight. Everyone kisses each other at twelve o’clock. Then we all sing a song called ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – it’s really funny because nobody can remember the words! We will probably get back home at four or five in the morning. As for my resolutions, I’m going to learn how to play the guitar, go running every day and study hard to get good grades for university.
Sophie, 18, Newcastle upon Tyne

I’m going snowboarding in Spain with my cousin and my parents. I want to stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve but maybe I’ll be too tired after snowboarding all day. My New Year’s resolution is to not make any New Year’s resolutions. They are impossible to keep!
Stuart, 14, Devon

Lots of Brits make New Year’s resolutions and then after a week or a month they find it difficult to continue. How can people keep their resolutions? Life coach Emma Nesdale gives some advice.

Make simple resolutions that are easy to do. If you want to lose weight you can decide to give up crisps and cakes rather than go on a strict diet. It’s a good idea to write your resolutions on a piece of paper to help you remember your plans. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you involve other people. You could go running with a friend or study for exams with a classmate.

Happy New Year!

New Year the Scottish way: A history of Hogmanay

Written by: Hamish

The origin of the word ‘Hogmanay’ isn’t clear. Some suggest it may have come from the French hoguinan which is the meaning for ‘New Year’s gift’, or potentially Homme est n which means ‘man is born’. The other theory is that is comes from the Gaelic og maidne which means ‘new morning’.

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and represents the celebration of the new year, the Scottish way. While the exact origins of Hogmanay are unclear there are some suggestions that it is related to Norse and Gaelic traditions. One thing is certain, today Hogmanay is celebrated energetically and in true Scottish fashion!

Winter Solstice

It is thought that the Vikings have a lot to do with the way the Scottish celebrate New Year. One particular suggestion revolves around the Winter Solstice which is usually celebrated towards the end of December. It celebrates the passing of the shortest day (and longest night) of the year. These celebrations were usually dragged out to the New Year, any excuse to drink some Scottish mead! Winter Solstice is still celebrated annually around the world, a celebration popular with spectators is held at Stonehenge.

First footing

The ‘first footing’ tradition is still heavily followed in Scotland. This tradition focuses on the ‘first foot’ in the house after midnight. To bring good luck to the household it is suggested that the first foot in the door after midnight should be a dark-haired male, bringing a gift of either coal, shortbread, salt or a dram of whisky. Again this is thought to draw from Viking traditions, where fair-haired first footers were not thought to be welcome as they usually meant a Viking invasion was about to take place!

Fire ceremonies

This is a traditional Scottish New Year tradition that is still very much carried out today. One of the most spectacular fire ceremonies that takes place today is held in Stonehaven. Thousands of fire enthusiasts parade the streets of Stonehaven carrying giant fireballs on long metal poles. The fire is thought to represent the power of the sun and again is a nod to the Winter Solstice celebrations where the fire is thought to purify the world of evil spirits.

Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you want to celebrate Hogmanay the Scottish way today, head over to Edinburgh. Each year the Scottish capital city celebrates Hogmanay by putting on a massive party along the city’s high street. Thousands of people come together in the freezing cold to be merry and celebrate the beginning of the New Year! The street party is accompanied by a massive firework display at midnight followed by a mass singing of “Auld Lang Syne”.

However you’re celebrating Hogmanay this year, we’d like to wish all our Highland Titles Lords, Ladies and Lairds a very happy New Year!

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Written by: Hamish

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