Happy New Year from my Viking ancestors (and their descendants) to all my readers. Hogmanay celebrations are underway with a torchlight procession through the center of Edinburgh to kick off three days of celebration. Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and one of these years I’m going to be there celebrating too. And here’s a bit familiar to genealogists: Hogmanay has 16 other possible spellings!
Of the New Year celebrations, Wikipedia states:
There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall dark men are preferred as the first-foot.
A happy and healthy 2014 to all of my readers and may all your brick walls fall in the coming year.
If you are interested in learning more about working with Scottish records, try Finding Scottish Ancestors Online, my Sassy Jane Genealogy Guide.
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