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Hogmanay. What a great way to start the New Year

Posted on 27th December 2013
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What is Hogmanay?

Clown Logo of Karnival Costumes your Halloween specialists for Fancy Dress and Costume AccessoriesAlthough New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the world, the Scots reserve a passion for these celebrations and the passing of the year which cannot be equaled anywhere else. Known simply as Hogmanay, the night of revelry that welcomes in the start of the New Year sees many a headache the next morning and in fact the first day of January sees thousands of party goers slowly making their way back home! And so good is the celebration that Scots get January 2nd as a holiday so that they can recover from the recovery of the party itself!
So how comes Hogmanay is celebrated with this much zeal north of the border?  Well, for hundreds of years, right through to the middle of the twentieth centenary, the Presbyterian Kirk, or church, banned the celebration of Christmas as being a Catholic feast. Consequently, with many Scots working over the traditional Christmas period, their winter solstice celebrations were merged with the welcoming of the New Year with family gatherings and the exchange of gifts, or Hogmanay as we know it.
The word Hogmanay has many possible derivations ranging from Scandinavian and Flemish through to French.  In fact, it is the French expression “Homme est né" or "Man is born” which seems to be the most likely, and in Normandy presents given at that time were known as "hoguignetes". Although many people have their own favourite, no-opne actually knows for certain.

Hogmanay Traditional Celebrations 

Affordable Working Scottish Bagpipes from Karnival Costumes Hogmanay is steeped and rich in traditions with many if these being shared with other cultures. For example, there are traditions before midnight such as cleaning the house on 31st December and this is also found in the lead up to the Chinese New year celebrations.  Similarly, there is the superstition that all debts should be cleared before the striking of the bells at midnight.
For Scots there is one tradition that has become synonymous with Hogmanay and one which has become a global export, its the singing, immediately after midnight of the song, "For Auld Lang Syne" by Robert Burns. Burns himself claimed that his own published version was based on an earlier fragment and certainly the tune was in print over 80 years earlier.  An early example of music sampling perhaps?
For Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne 
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, 
We'll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
But Hogmanay is about the party and one of the most practiced traditions, and as alive today as it ever was, is that of welcoming both friends and strangers, with an equal measure of warm hospitality creating a clean break with the passing year whilst welcoming in the new on a shared happy note.
Just one of a collection of Scots costumes for men at Karnival CostumesAlthough now dying out as a tradition, "First footing" – being the first foot over the threshold on New Year’s Day – does still survive. A precursor to good luck, the first foot should be male and have dark hair, as opposed to the blonde Vikings who only brought with them bad tidings! The first footer should bring gifts which traditionally would have been coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky all very symbolic although nowadays its more usual for the first footing to be made with a dram of whisky and a piece of shortbread.
So if you want to celebrate like the Scots, gather your friends and family whilst adding a sprinkling of strangers to the mix and get ready to party.  And if you believe that a Scots themed party requires suitable costume, you don’t need to break the bank to do so because at Karnival Costumes we’ve a huge collection of Scottish costumes and accessories just right for Hogmanay and them again at Burn’s Night!
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