News & Advice

Hogmanay: Our Scottish Tradition

Many people have heard the word Hogmanay, but aren’t quite sure what it is. It’s the Scottish term for the last day of the year (sort of).

It’s synonymous with New Year’s Eve; it’s not quite the same though. Hogmanay is longer than New Year’s Eve as it carries on throughout New Year’s Day, and even into the second day of January, which is a Bank Holiday for us Scots, woohoo!

8 Dec 2016

  • hogmanay
  • new year
  • scotland
  • party
  • festive
  • auld lang syne
  • Hogmanay in Argyll
  • Celebrate with Loved Ones
  • For Auld Lang Syne

There isn’t a concrete explanation as to where the tradition of Hogmanay derived from, but there is speculation it comes from The Gaelics and The Norse. The Viking elements of tradition is thought to originate from the celebration of winter solstice, and then taking on other influences and partying towards the end of December!

Traditions & Customs

First-footing is one of the most important traditions. This old custom is for visiting friends and neighbours. The ‘first-footer’ is the first person to step over the threshold of your home after midnight on New Year’s Eve, taking along symbolic gifts. Fun fact: It’s considered lucky if your first-footer is a tall, dark-haired male!

Gift time! The main focus of gifting at Hogmanay is to wish wellness to your loved ones. Traditional presents include coal (to represent warmth), a coin (to wish financial prosperity on the recipient), and a drink - usually whisky (to wish good cheer!) One of our favourite gifts is a nice homemade shortbread - easy to make in batches, and seriously tasty. 

One way us Scots like to celebrate is by enjoying a hearty meal with our nearest and dearest, it’s the perfect time to enjoy good food and our favourite tipple, whisky… the best drink for bringing in the New Year with a toast in our opinion! Spending time with friends and neighbours was a custom all of those years ago, and it’s still very important to this day. Many people now take a trip away with their loved ones. 

Cleaning the house is more than just having a tidy round so the place looks nice. This super-spruce focuses on decluttering and freshening up the home, ready to start a clean slate with the New Year ahead. You know what they say, a tidy house; a tidy mind!It wouldn’t be Hogmanay without a good traditional Ceilidh (pronounced: kei-li) gathering to bring in the bells! With a Scottish Highland dance band, a few drams of whisky and plenty of dancing, what better way to welcome in 2017?

Auld Lang Syne meaning “for the sake of old times” along with linking arms with others and standing in a circle is a biggie. Many people don’t really know why this is done, but get involved regardless. If you’re one of those people, just know that it’s mainly to toast everyone’s health, and take the time to cherish friendships. And for those of you who struggle with the words after a few whiskies, then this is for you:

Welcome in 2017 with Argyll Holidays

We celebrate New Year’s Eve like no other nation, so choosing Scotland as the destination for bringing in the New Year is definitely a wise move, it’ll be a party to remember! Find out more about what to expect when you book your Hogmanay Break with us.

Best Wishes,

Everyone at Argyll Holidays

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