Happy New Year! Hogmanay is a Scottish festival to mark the end of the year
‘Lang may yer lum reek, in yer ain wee hoose!’
Long may your chimney smoke, in your own small house. In other words, may you live long, and prosper.
‘What a year it’s been?’
‘Aye, Where’s it gone?’
It’s the same conversation every year as is the merriment to mark the end of the year. Both the conversations and the celebration are as old as the Macalpines, and we all know they are older than the hills and streams.
Who first celebrated Hogmanay?
The end of the Celtic year is Samhain, the 31st of October. However, the influence of the Catholicism on the populace of Scotland, end of year celebrations were moved to the 31st of December.
Up until the 1960’s most people in Scotland worked through Christmas day and Boxing day and celebrated Hogmanay with their families and friends. Whereas in England, Christmas day was celebrated, (apart from the time it was banned in 1644! That’s another story).
When was the first Hogmanay?
It is believed the first Hogmanay was in 1561 but how did that come about?
Why did Hogmanay begin in 1561?
Once upon a time, the child bride Mary Queen of Scots was sent to France in 1548 to marry the Dauphin, a French prince. The marriage was a political move for catholic Scotland to secure an alliance with catholic France against protestant England.
The Dauphin died as a teenager and Mary returned reluctantly from France to Scotland. She was a young, beautiful widow, who’d become accustomed to warm weather, exquisite food, and gaiety. Scotland was cold, gray and dull in comparison.
Here's an imagining of what might have happened?
I imagine Mary was fed up. Christmas had been a non-event, because the Scots made little fuss about it, but the end of year, that had always been a Scottish celebration.
Perhaps Mary said ‘Donnez-moi un hoginane pour marquer le fin l’annee.’
‘What’s a hoginane?’
‘Nae idea. But the lass wants something to mark the end of the year. A party of all parties.’
‘Nae bother. That will cheer her up.’
‘I’ll spread the word—what did she call it—Hogmanay?’
‘Aye, that’ll do!’
Who knows? :)
What do my characters do on Hogmanay in 1800?
Now that my dears is another story. There is no ceilidh in Cloudoun house for the Lady of the house prefers a musical evening with the local harpist, Miss Mary Baird. However, when the Major hears her play, here’s a wee excerpt -
David had seen harpist before, but this lassie’s hands and harp created something that involved him.
The lassie stopped playing and the audience burst into applause. His hands pelted together, and his pulse banged out a tattoo. Stepping in front of Fergus, he had to get closer to this sorceress of sound.
Fergus placed a hand on his shoulder.
'Who is she?'
'Miss Mary Baird, youngest daughter of the Laird of Hunterlaw.’
‘Right,’ he took a step forward.
His cousin grabbed his shoulder. ‘I’d say she could be dangerous.' Fergus whispered in his ear.
'When did danger ever worry me?' There eyes met, but Fergus's stony expression, slipped off his shoulders like an autumn leaf.
This excerpt is from ‘Love knows no other,’ a Scottish historical romantic-suspense, is Book 1 in the Highland Seer’s trilogy.
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