Talk:Hogmanay

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Pronunciation[edit]

So, like how do you pronounce this word? - Anon reader —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.180.172.163 (talkcontribs) 02:11, 1 January 2005

Something like hog-mah-NAY, as I recall, but we should find a Scot to be sure. —Morven 01:42, Jan 1, 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely correct, Morven. Lang may yer lum reek! (and other Hogmanay greetings). -- Derek Ross | Talk 08:49, 2005 Jan 1 (UTC) (A genuine Scot)
I've added a pronunciation guide to the article. rossb 16:28, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think that as it's a Scots word it's fair enough to give the pronunciation in Scottish Standard English -- i.e. no diphthong or ɒ vowel, which aren't used in SSE -- so I've changed the IPA accordingly. A guid new year tae aabodie, whan it comes -- Mendor 13:55, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd like to take issue with the professed pronunciation. Yes, it's spelt Hog- , but in the entirety of my experience, and limited to actual Scots speakers, it is pronounced HUG-ma-NAY; that is, there is a half-stress on HUG, ma is unstressed, and a full stress on NAY.
Nuttyskin 22:23, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Just goes to show you've never met me. I agree with what you've got to say about stressing. But some Scots say "hug"; some say "hog". I'm one of the latter. -- Derek Ross | Talk 14:39, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
I'd back up Nuttyskin and say HUG-ma-NAY is the more often used "correct" pronunciation, especially among well-educated Scots. I was a Hog-, now I've become a Hug- :0) Any more in favour and I think we should change the pronunciation guide. And what about that frightening and ill-timed storm that wiped out outdoor Hogmanay activities for many last week? EdX20 21:08, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
As a total aside, one thing that totally rips my knitting is when people sing "Old lang ZYNE"...admittedly this is mainly a USAican thing, but grates a tad.2.125.67.44 (talk) 01:41, 22 June 2013 (UTC)Lance Tyrell

Which foot?[edit]

Is it important for the first foot to cross a threshold in the new year be a right foot (i.e. not a left one)? Doops | talk 20:57, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

The first foot is a person not a foot, so the question doesn't really make sense. The important thing about the person is not which foot they use to cross the threshold but whether they are tall, dark, rich, handsome, male and bearing the appropriate gifts (score one luck point for each of the foregoing that applies to your first foot, <grin>). -- Derek Ross | Talk 02:06, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

OK, sorry; I should have asked about the first foot's first foot. :) Doops | talk 04:38, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
Is there any evidence to back up the "hug me now" suggestion being true? -- (Someone who didn't sign)

Not that I know of. That is why the article says However none of these is more than guesswork. There is little or no evidence for any of the suggested etymologies including the "hug-me-now" one. -- Derek Ross | Talk 00:44, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Some of the suggestions are more likely than others. I'd say the most likely one was the Old English. The indication that it was a Lowland tradition makes the Gaelic suspect, and a number of Old English words have survived in the Scots dialect despite being extinct in Modern English.Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 10:27, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

greetings[edit]

so, how does one wish someone else a happy hogmanay? What is commonly said - what do cards say, etc? "Happy Hogmanay?" "Merry Hogmanay?"

What are the traditional and common greetings?


Not sure about traditional in Scotland, but my Grandfather used to follow the same ritual every Hogmanay. The first footer always brings a small bag of salt, a small piece of coal and a bottle of whiskey, and knocks on the door on the stroke of midnight. When I was a young lad, the firt footer was also accompanied by a piper who would play "My Home" or some other good tune! The first footer would greet the home owner with something like:

Good sir, I bring you salt to salt your meat, and I bring you coal to keep your fire lit. From me and mine, to you an yours Happy New year, and lang may your lum reak! The first footer then hands over the salt and coal.

The home owner then responds with something like, and a happy new year to you and yours. Will you share a dram before joining us?

At this point, a nip of scotch is shared from their respective bottles, with the toast being (I don't know the spelling so I will write it phoenetically) slanjee va!

The the first footer and the home owner enter the house together and everyone in the houselhold takes a wee dram from both bottles. In our houselhold, it didn't matter if you were 5 or 50, you still got a nip.

We carry on the tradition to this day!

slanjee va!
This is the Gaelic slainte bha, "Your health!" This is often shortened to "Slainte!" ("Health!"), pronounced slanj.
Evidently fed up with people asking for someone called Slaynt, a Scottish kilt hire firm has begun using the spelling Slanj.
Nuttyskin 23:57, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
The correct spelling is "Slàinte Mhath". Pronunciation (in IPA): [ˈsl̴aːɲʧə vã]). The literal meaning is "Good Health", but as it is used as a toast is also sometimes given the colloquial translation of "Cheers!" --Kathryn NicDhàna 05:25, 12 September 2006 (UTC)


I was told by an old Scottish lady (who died about 10yr ago) about a Hogmanay tradition of standing in a circle around a camp fire and throwing young children over it to someone who would catch the child on them other side.

She also said it's roots went right back to Pagan worship of "Molec", to whom the Pagans sacrificed their childred in the fire.

The only greeting that I know of in common and current use is "Happy New Year", accompanied by a firm handshake and perhaps a kiss for members of the opposite sex. This greeting is usually exchanged the first time people meet after midnight on the 31st, and may happen several days or even weeks into the new year. I have never seen or even heard of hogmanay or new year greetings cards. Oh, and Happy New Year to you all.--User:MrPurple 19:30, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

there's a custom of writing your name on a stone and putting it in the fire. Any stone not in the fire or broken will indicate the death of the owner. 93.233.35.213 (talk) 10:17, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

In answer to the original question, I've never heard 'Happy Hogmanay' or any variation of that used in Scotland. As Mr Purple says, people wish each other 'Happy New Year'; I'd add that I was told as a small child in no uncertain terms that it was something verging on bad luck to wish a Happy New Year before the bells (i.e. before midnight). If speaking to somebody you wouldn't be seeing at the turn of the year, I was taught that the done thing was to say 'have a good New Year when it comes'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.121.111.56 (talk) 17:20, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Steak pie?[edit]

Houl oan a meenut. just put a cite needed about that Steak pie. While it sounds delectable, dindins on the last day for anyone that I know consists of the final Xmas remnants or the first set of new mince to arrive in the fridge once Teescos has reopened! AND..shouldn't it be a mutton pie? Brendandh 03:05, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

The article is a bit random with it's layout.. Even though it doesn't come under "Ne'er Day", steak pie is traditionally eaten then.. Probably to sober folk up, and to start the year on a good meal (completely guesswork on my part). What people eat on Hogmanay, is another matter! 82.41.97.29 00:18, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, steak pie is definitely associated with Ne'erday, with the associated belief that it is to sober you up following Hogmanay festivities. Bloody good meal too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Breadandcheese (talkcontribs) 03:03, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

bank holiday[edit]

1st and 2nd are bank holidays in Scotland, not the 3rd.--Brideshead 15:06, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Not strictly true I'm afraid, see the section of the article entitled Ne'er day which clarifies things. Fraslet 15:11, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I can't find an article entitled ne'er day, however the Bank Holiday page states that 1st and 2nd are holidays. --Brideshead 17:57, 31 December 2006 (UTC)


I was referring to the section of the Hogmanay article which is entitled Ne'erday. Fraslet 17:59, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Popularity[edit]

If you ask most Scots nowadays how their Hogmanay was, the most common response seems to be "Oh, very quiet". It seems the first-footing custom is in danger of dying out. When I was a teenager the first-footing and parties seemed to last for days. What do others think, and maybe a paragragh on this subject would enhance the article. EdX20 21:14, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Whilst Hogmany is still a big thing in Scotland, the old traditions like first-footing etc. are becoming increasingly rare. I would warrant many Scottish children don't even know what first-footing is! 2.102.81.66 (talk) 16:44, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

Was this any more or less uncited and dubious than any of the others? Why single it out for deletion? 172.216.71.238 (talk) 21:21, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

No, no more uncited, arguable if it's any more dubious. Uncited and dubious it is though, which is enough to ditch it. Was a new edit therefore highlighted as a change and very quick to undo. It doesn't mean I'm endorsing the rest of the article or indeed vast swathes of uncited text throughout Wikipedia. If you reckon it's credible and have a citation, by all means add it back. That whole section could do with in-text citations. Mutt Lunker (talk) 23:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I've never, ever heard the Spanish word aguinaldo cited as a possible origin. It should be removed in my opinion.

82.108.205.6 (talk) 15:43, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Here is a possible etymology from Scots Gaelic: the phrase 'Theacht Mheán Oíche' [the coming of midnight] is pronounced 'Hacht Man Ee Ha' which is close enough to Hogmany for my liking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.144.162.34 (talk) 11:28, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry but that's not even Scots Gaelic - that's Irish, you're pronunciation is way off and in any case, we'd need a reference for this. Akerbeltz (talk) 11:55, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Crossed Arms[edit]

"It has become traditional for this to be sung in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight for New Year's Day." Hmm. Well yes and no. It has indeed become traditional, but properly, the arms shouldn\t be crossed until the last verse. Adding info to this effect. Tpacw (talk) 09:40, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Can you explain why this is the proper way to do it and cite it please? Mutt Lunker (talk) 14:20, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Tpacw. In Scotland arms are traditionally not crossed until the second verse (at "And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie's a hand o' thine!") - but finding a reliable source for this is not so easy... Maybe UKnetguide, or SingMe? Not great sources, perhaps... Or how about the one cited at Auld Lang Syne: [1]? SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 15:03, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I would also agree, instinctively, but obviously that cuts no ice here. Was just pointing out that this kind of statement needs backed up. I reckon the Lancashire Evening Telegraph one is a good citation. Would be interesting to find more info on why arms are crossed in the last verse, when people started doing it, where they started doing it etc.. Mutt Lunker (talk) 16:42, 28 July 2008 (UTC)


Um, I think there was an indirect source on the Auld Lang Syne page, which mentioned the Queen crossing arms when it was sung at the millenium, and how this is 'correct practice'. I'll go and dig it up. Tpacw (talk) 19:24, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Its very simple really "And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!' You give a hand to the next guy - 'And gie's a hand o' thine!' he passes his to you. They are then crossed. I should imagine it would be difficult to verify unless there is an anthropological text on it somewhere. We were crossing arms long before the millennium but how reliable is a report on a modern Queen as an indication of past custom? Tarzanlordofthejungle (talk) 10:24, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

That's the Lancashire Evening Telegraph one. I have inserted it into this page too. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 20:49, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

At one time at the end of the night, regardless if it was New Year or not at every dance, wedding or any sort of party, Auld Lang Syne was sung. The arms were never crossed till the verse " and gies the hand o' thine". Auld Lang Syne sung is very rarely sung now at the end of celebrations and is normally reserved for Hogmanay.. As far as I am concerned, there is no argument. The arms are not crossed till the noted verse and never before. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.4.35.103 (talk) 01:10, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

The way I've always done it: Hold hands for first verse/chorus, not crossed, but swinging hand in and out. Second verse - cross hands. Second chorus - hands still crossed, everyone charges into the middle of the room on first line, out again on second, in again on third. Is this common? 86.169.17.77 (talk) 20:33, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

1954 Scottish cookbook talks about some Hogmanay traditions[edit]

I found this 1954 cookbook which was compiled by a Miss F. Marian McNeille who (according to the text) published a work on Scottish folk-lore entitled "The Silver Bough".

It has a couple pages that discuss old Hogmanay traditions, and there are some "traditional" recipes for "Hogmanay fare" and maybe be worth looking at for material. On the other hand its suitability as a reference is up for debate.

Not being fluent in Scottish phrases I am afraid I don't understand all of the words but maybe someone here does. For example; "...the chappin' o' the Twal'..." is completely lost on me but my instinct says it ought to be mentioned in this article or the first-foot article. 66.102.205.172 (talk) 15:46, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Good find!. "...the chappin' o' the Twal'..." means "...the knocking of the Twelve..." if that helps. I would guess that it means knocking on a door twelve times at midnight or something similar. I'll take a look at the pamphlet. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:21, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
And having read it in context, I can confirm that it means "the striking of twelve o'clock", ie the ringing of the midnight bells at New Year. By the way, we already have an article on F. Marian McNeill which mentions The Silver Bough. I have no doubt that the latter 4 volume treatise passes the WP:RS guidelines and contains rather more info on Hogmanay customs then Miss McNeill's brief notes in the pamphlet. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:28, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. Since the pamphlet notes that she has "recently" published Vol I of The Silver Bough and she published the first volume in 1957 and the second in 1959, this pamphlet was most likely published in 1957, not 1954. -- Derek Ross | Talk 18:22, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Kincardineshire no longer exists?[edit]

Brideshead's edit on 31st Dec 09 states that Stonehaven is in Aberdeenshire because "Kincardineshire hasn't existed for years". I would challenge that. Whilst it is true that the local government region of Kincardineshire no longer exists, the county itself quite definately does, and Stonehaven is quite definately in it. For instance, see the location information given by Google maps for Stonehaven Firechucker (talk) 14:04, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Kincardineshire does still exist as a Lord Lieutenancy area but it is more common to say Stonehaven is within Aberdeenshire than Kincardineshire as Kincardineshire is purely ceremonial. Although from my experience from living nearby in Banchory post addressed as Kincardineshire still reached us. People still use it but in all the time I lived in Banchory I never used the term Kincardineshire. Micropot (talk) 23:11, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Irish spelling[edit]

Shouln't theacht meán oíche" be spelt theacht mean oíche - the fada over the a seems wrong, but I'm not fluent enough to be certain.Autarch (talk) 20:13, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

No the fada is correct. Akerbeltz (talk) 21:52, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Definition of Ne'erday is unclear[edit]

The text says of Ne'erday "When Ne'erday falls on a Sunday, 3 January becomes an additional public holiday in Scotland" but nowhere does it say when Ne'erday is normally. i am guessing that it is 2 Jan but it does not say

Jpff (talk) 11:13, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

It's the 1st of January. -- Derek Ross | Talk 02:04, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, it comes from 'New Years Day' WeeJimmyFaeGorgie (talk) 11:59, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Tall dark men as first-footers[edit]

Tall dark men? Could this be ambiguous? Should it be changed to "tall, dark-haired men" or, and here I'm going by a childhood memory, can the term 'dark' also cover their clothing? I seem to remember a reference to coalmen (i.e. coal merchants or miners) fitting the bill, but that may have been an adult joke at my expense! Kim Traynor (talk) 13:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Well, it's true that it means dark-haired men (since such men would appear pretty white-skinned to anyone not used to the really pale redheads and sandy-haired individuals also found in Scotland) but I don't think it should necessarily be changed to that since "tall, dark stranger" is the normal phrase. Perhaps a little clarification is in order though. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:50, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Local customs[edit]

In her memoir Voices in the Street, Growing up in Dundee (2006) Maureen Reynolds writes, "It was eight o'clock on Hogmanay, the last night of 1941, and we were all busy cleaning the house. This annual tradition had to be tackled before the start of a new year." She goes on to describe in some detail a thorough cleaning of the house with the whole family involved. Unfortunately, she does not state whether this was just a family tradition, or was also being done in other households. I assume most families would have cleaned up their houses in advance of receiving first-footing visitors, but I wonder if anyone can help confirm that this was a widespread ritual? If we receive several comments confirming it was geographically widespread, it would be worth adding to the article under the Customs section heading. Kim Traynor (talk) 13:57, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I can confirm that this was a widespread custom. Whether it still is, is another matter. It's part of the renewal theme for the New Year. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:55, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
It is my understanding too that Reynolds is not simply referring to her family or to a Dundee tradition, but to a national tradition. Brought up in Edinburgh, we certainly had to made sure that the house was spotless before the dawn of the new year, and I'm pretty sure that that intention (perhaps nowadays largely remaining an intention rather than an act?) is still very widespread throughout the country. --Mais oui! (talk) 07:31, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Opening and closing of windows, doors[edit]

The opening and closing of doors used to be practiced in Edinburgh at least till the 1970's. I seem to remember the front doors were opened to let the new year in and the back doors opened to let the old year out. Can't remember the exact format but remember this being practiced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.4.35.103 (talk) 01:03, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Yep, we used to do that in Aberdeen too. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:37, 3 January 2014 (UTC)