Friday, 31 December 2010

Days of Auld Lang Syne

To-day in Scotland it's Hogmanay, which is not, as some might think, a drunken revelry (that comes later)
but is rather a time for reflection, and clearing the decks in readiness for the New Year. Bills paid, amends made, my mother would spend the day scouring the house and doing an enormous washing, for come the bells, there must not be a speck of dirt in the house. Just before midnight, even the ashes were raked from the grate. A window was opened, to let out the old year, then the front door, to let in the new. An uncle soon appeared, to ensure our "first foot" would be male, laden with food, drink and fuel, shortbread, whisky and coal.
Everything that happened at New Year was supposed to be symbolic of how the year would be and so much stress was placed on seeing in the bells at home with your loved ones that the English tradition of gathering in Trafalgar Square seemed very alien and not a little reckless. But times change and now Edinburgh has become so famous as party central that you have to buy a ticket for the Princes Street celebrations. From my house, I can see the shimmer of the fireworks and a moment later hear the "Crump!" Indeed, if I drove five minutes down the road I'd have a terrific view of Edinburgh Castle, but old habits die hard. Do I really want to be out on the streets come the bells? What would that presage?
Happy New Year!
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11 comments:

The Idiot Gardener said...

Have a good one, Is. We shall be ensconced within Idiot Towers with some champers for her, a few beers for me, a chicken curry and a Bill Bailey DVD!

No doubt we'll be in bed before midnight, and up early to do a bit of digging, followed by a venison lunch.

You took me back there with first fotting. I once walked out with a lass from Easterhouse!

It's times like this that I realise getting older is a blessing!

Is the Wiz said...

Dear Id & Mrs. IG,
Orrabest when it comes!

Mal's Allotment said...

Happy fallindoonday Izzy!

Is the Wiz said...

Slainte Mal!

Damo said...

Happy New Year! 2011 has started by me warding off manflu, it can only get better from here on!

Is the Wiz said...

Happy New Year Damo and Mrs D and all the little D's! Man-flu is nature's way of saying you need a duvet day - so enjoy!

Pearl said...

I had no idea. :-)

Happy New Year!

Pearl

Britta said...

Dear Is the Wiz,
Happy New Year to you! When I read about Scotish preparations for the new year I thought that Scotland is beautiful inside and out! We have the same traditions, but wanting to have the cake and eat it, I do the housework a day before - and then go dancing in the streets (this time in Freiburg). Then I open the windows and the doors to let the New Year in! I see you dancing too, dare it!

Is the Wiz said...

Dear Pearl and Britta, Hope you had a good one and that 2011 brings you all you wish for yourselves. I'd decided to go and watch the fireworks but got caught up Facebooking with my family, and before I realised it midnight had struck. But I shall practise my dancing!

Paul C said...

How interesting to read about these Scottish new year traditions laden with symbolism. It says a lot about starting the year out on the right foot.

Is the Wiz said...

Dear Paul, Thanks for your input I'm always so impressed with your thought-provoking posts. A happy New Year to you and yours.