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Happy Hogmanay

Lang May Yer Lum Reek – A Braw Scottish Hogmanay

Lang May Yer Lum Reek – A Braw Scottish Hogmanay

First let me translate for those not of Scottish origin.  

Lang May Yer Lum Reek – has a literal translation to: long may your chimney smoke, but is a way of wishing someone very prosperous New Year by saying may you never be without fuel for your fire.  It is also tradition in days where a coal fire was part of life, to take someone a lump of coal especially if you were what is called a “first foot” meaning the first person through someones door after the new year.

(And braw is just a Scottish word for brilliant, great, etc.)

In my home growing up, we always called the stroke of midnight “The Bells” and you always had to charge your glass before the bells (meaning to have a drink in your hand before Big Ben chimed midnight on your TV), no matter how old you were, whether it be alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.  We still call it the bells at home here and no doubt my kids will someday too (when they are old enough to be up that late).

Hogmanay is a very Scottish celebration, and when I was growing up the story was it dated back to Mary Queen of Scots who created the very first and named it so.  I was also told when I was little, that the term Hogmanay used to mean the celebration from 31st December to 2nd January and as the drinking lasted several days, the 2nd January became a holiday in Scotland as the day to recuperate.  In more recent times when people say Hogmanay they usually just mean new years eve.  The 2nd of January is still a Public Holiday in Scotland mind you.

I do love ceilidh’s on new years eve, and the singing of Auld Lang Syne is cried out very loudly across the Nation and then there is the tradition of eating a full steak pie dinner on New Years Day.  In my house the steak pie for New Years Day is as significant as the turkey dinner on Christmas Day.  It’s a time for family and friends to come together and wish one another all the best for the year ahead.  As with Christmas Day, in our house we have family games and the usual snooze after such a large 3 course meal.  It’s often difficult to get a good steak pie in Scotland in the week leading up to new years eve, without pre-ordering one from a local butchers; they sell out very fast.

All the best to you and yours for the new year!  I hope it’s better to you than last year was.

What are your plans for celebrating new year?  Let us know in the comments below.