Hogmanay Traditions and Customs
Hogmanay: You've probably heard or read the Scottish word and wondered whether it was some Gaelic way of saying you possessed many a porcine. No. The word, likely stemming from 16th century French, literally means a gift given at New Year's but what it means today is a broad term describing the annual custom of visiting friends and family just after midnight on New Year's Eve, with gifts in hand such as cake, salt, coal, and whisky. This tradition of first-footing, as it's known, has been going on for hundreds of years in Scotland, as Christmas wasn't even officially celebrated in Scotland until 1958 due to the Protestant Reformation. Hogmanay starts New Year's Eve and lasts two full days, with January 2nd a public holiday.