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Hogmanay Traditions

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New Year is a funny time of year, isn’t it?

When I was a kid I didn’t really get it, mostly because I was too deep in the depressing post christmas come down.

In my clubbing years, I found the whole thing infinitely disappointing when it turned out it wasn’t really the biggest night of the year. It was just the busiest and most expensive….I have never been more flat or broke than I was 1st January 2000

In the late 20’s I mostly ignored it.

But in my 30’s I like to acknowledge the passing of another year, mostly because they seem to disappear now in the blink of an eye (seriously where has the last year gone? Feck, where has the last 10 years gone???) . And so I try to take stock of the year passing and plan for the New Year ahead.

Throughout my life though what has been constant at New Year is traditions! A wee dram and a kiss at midnight to strengthen romance for the year ahead. A boozy sing-a-long to Auld Lang Syne, watching the fireworks from Edinburgh Castle, Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, the Corries and Jackie Bird, are just a few of the things that spring to mind when I think of midnight on the 31st of December.

Some of the best traditions have unfortunately fallen out of favour – First-Footing for example. I used to love going first footing when I was wee. I bet there are now quite few of you who don’t even know what it is.

It is basically just going to visit neighbours, friends and family in the hours after midnight. You would normally take a small first foot gift like a tin of shortbread or a house plant – because turning up empty handed was considered to be very bad luck. You then in return would be offered a wee dram to welcome in the New Year (there were often a lot of big drams floating about).

Then of course there are the weird traditions – one my favourites is religiously followed every year by my niece. She is frankly obsessed with opening the front and back doors at midnight. The idea is that as the old year is ushered out the back door we welcome the New Year through the front. Weird but I like it.

And of course we can’t forget about New Year’s resolutions, which will be broken usually within hours if you are anything like me. Obviously my New Year’s resolution is to go on a diet, as it has been for the last 20 years….it’s tradition!! I always vow that this will be the year I finish it looking like Gisele….that is until dessert is offered at New Year’s day dinner. And all thoughts of being a 6ft brazilian Supermodel are swifty replaces with the taste of sweet gooey chocolate and cream – pah! I bet the amazonian mega babe with the hot hot husband isn’t even that happy anyway.

Speaking of New Year’s Day dinner, this has to be my favourite tradition of all. If you are Scottish, or indeed in Scotland the only acceptable meal to have on the 1st of January is a humongous steak pie.

Melt in your mouth beef, drowning in a sea of thick meaty gravy, all served under a blanket of the most perfect buttery flaky puff pastry. Naturally this will be enjoyed with creamy fluffy mash potatoes and sweet carrots – it’s the stuff of dreams.

We usually get our steak pie from the lovely M&S, because it is my one of my favourite pies and never fails to deliver. Thankfully at this time of year they do a 1kg steak pie, which is the absolute business for feeding the masses on New Years Day.

I love the traditions that surround Hogmanay in Scotland – in case you haven’t worked it out yet I am a bit of a sentimental emotional wreck at times. So any kind of acknowledgement of starting something new, and letting go of something past always has me practically vibrating with all the feels. This year has been a pretty awful year for me, so I for one will be thrilled to see the back of it and the start of a new one.

And so as we see 2018 out the back door, and welcome the new year in the front I want to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and delicious 2019.