Hogmanay Facts – The Scottish New Year from the Reformation

“Huh?” is correct. Not to worry, though, your puzzlement is about to be alleviated. Hogmanay is a festival that occurs in modern day Scotland (of course) on the 31st of each year and is not just a New Year’s Eve celebration. Here are some Hogmanay facts to ease your curiosity. 1. The first visitor to set foot into your home on New Year’s day is known as the “First-foot” and is said to bring good fortune over the course of the New Year. You don’t qualify for “First-Foot” if you were in the house at the stroke of midnight so theoretically speaking, Cinderella would win every year if the prince’s ball was held every 31st December. You cannot be First-foot if you’re a resident of the homestead. Males of fairer hair are considered unlucky in some parts. 2. The people make spherical structures from wire and stuff them full of flammable material, and when the clock hits midnight, as the bell rings, they descend into the town having lit them and swing them in circles over their heads. Here’s one more of the Hogmanay facts for you: 3. Saining: The residents of a homestead sprinkle water from the river Ford on their home and animals. Branches of Juniper are burnt in the homestead after the sprinkling until the resident’s sneeze and cough. The house is then aerated with outside air of the new year… Just one more: 4. The Loony Dook. Loony is short for lunatic and dook is Scottish lingo for bathe. During this event, the people dress up in as frivolous clothing as the imagination could permit and dive into the freezing cold water at the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry. Mind you, this is a newly instated tradition and is in no way related to Saining.

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