Hogmanay is the New Year celebration in Scotland, lasting from December 31st through January 2nd.

Although New Year's Eve is celebrated throughout the entire world, it holds a special place in the hearts of Scots due to a long, rich heritage around the night.  While the rest of us call it New Year's Eve, in Scotland and by Scots around the world, it is called Hogmanay. It has never really been narrowed down to where the name came from as there were speculation the word came from everything from the Scandinavian language to the French language. Historians, however, believe the celebration was inherited from the Vikings. In The Shetlands, where the Viking influence is stronger, New Year's Eve is called Yules. 

Traditions

There are a few things that should be done before midnight of the 31st, namely cleaning the house. 

first footingImmediately after midnight it is traditional to sing Robert Burns' "For Auld Lang Syne". Burns claimed it was based on an earlier fragment and certainly the tune was in print over 80 years before he published his version in 1788.

"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."


Another important part of Hogmanay, which isn't practiced as much anymore is "First Footing" (which is the first foot in the door after midnight).  To make sure you have good luck in your household for the rest of the year, the first foot should be male, dark haired (this again goes back to Viking days when a blond stranger showing up on your doorstep meant trouble) and should bring various items including, coal, shortbread and whisky. 

So no matter if you call it Hogmanay or New Year's Eve, surround yourself with those you love and hold near and dear to you and may your 2017 be filled with health, wealth and happiness.