Friday, December 28, 2012

HOGMANAY by Nancy Lee Badger

Hogamanay celebration in Edinburgh, Scotland

While researching my Highland Games Through Time series, I filled binders with oodles of neat facts. I thought I would share a few things I learned about Hogmanay 

My books take place in both modern day New England as well as sixteenth century Scotland. Hogmanay (also spelled Hogamany or Hogamanay) is the Scots term for the last day of the year, the day we all now celebrate as New Year’ Eve.  Like many of us lucky enough to have the following day ‘off’, Hogmanay also includes celebrating all the way through the next day and, sometimes, through January 2nd.
 
When I looked deeper into the origin of Hogmanay, I found that many scholars believe that the holiday has its roots in ancient times when the Nordic tribes acknowledged the Winter Solstice, the Vikings enjoyed the Yule, and Scots celebrated Samhain.   

One of the first things I ever read was a folk tale that mentioned the first guest who walked across your home’s threshold after midnight on the last day of the year. Some call this first-footing. Since hubby and I usually head to bed once the ball drops in New York City (watched from our North Carolina home, where the split screen also shows the NC Acorn drop) we rarely think about whom the first person is that enters our home in the New Year. This year I will take note!  

I am still confused about what this first-footing person does for us. Further research says that the Scots exchange certain gifts, and what I read made me laugh. These gifts include salt, coal, shortbread (yum), and fruit cake (yuck). 

Then I came across an interesting tidbit that mentioned another gift the Scots share with their neighbors on Hogmanay…whisky! Now, that is a Scottish tradition worth continuing! 

Happy Hogmanay!
Nancy Lee Badger

More About the Author

Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games and she is a proud Army Mom.
Find out more at: 
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Latest Release:  My Banished Highlander
Series: Book #2 of the Highland Games Through Time
Genre: Scottish Time Travel Romance
Length: 82,000 word Novel
 
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20 comments:

  1. Love your post! First footing...as long as the first person through is a dark haired male, then he's supposed to bring lots of luck to the home, along with the gifts! Happy Hogmanay, everyone!

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    1. My 6ft 4", Blond, Blue-eyed husband of Scottish descent might have a problem with that! Happy Holidays!

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  2. Great information Nancy. My ancestors hail from the Highlands so I love anything to do with Scotland.

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  3. Interesting stuff Nancy! Wonder if that's where coal for Christmas came from....

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    1. I'll have to look that up...I just did and it looks like it started in Holland.

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  4. Great post, Nancy. Can you buy your hubby a wig for the occasion? Sounds like he's the proper height. My grandmother who was Irish but of Scottish descent as well always celebrated Hogmanay in honor of the MacBlaine branch of the family. But since everybody had blond or red hair, it was tough finding someone to first foot. This brings back some fun memories.

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  5. What a glorious word! Love it. Interesting point, Zoe. I wonder if coal as a gift was very precious--did the Scots use peat for their fires usually?
    Oh, and I'll have your fruitcake if you don't want it...Happy Hogmanay! Meredith

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    1. keep...away...from...the...fruitcake!

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  6. Hogamany and whiskey? Sounds like my kind of celebration! Love hearing about anything Celtic!

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    1. I have a small wedge of Whisky cake I received from my Celtic Secret Santa. Want some? Oops...hubby just ate it!

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  7. What an interesting blog. Maybe salt was a great gift because it was hard to get or something. I'll take the whiskey and the scones. LOL
    I didn't realize until now that you are a fellow North Carolinian...a 'tar heel."
    I wish you all the best in the coming year with lots of happy days and gigantic sales.

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    1. I am a member of the Heart of Carolina Romance wRiters, a chapter of RWA. We meet in the Raleigh/Cary area. Want to visit?

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  8. Lots of interesting tidbits here, Nancy. I especially like the first-footing idea. Wonderful seasonal post. Happy New Year to you and everyone at the Celtic Rose Blog!

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  9. Hogamany, whisky AND a handsome dark haired man...Wow! That would be a terrific start to the New Year. Happy New Year to everyone.

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  10. Nancy - I used First Footing as the basis for one of my romance novellas - Love At First Step.

    According to what I found out - it is an old custom, from the days of the Viking raids on Scotland. The best person to enter your house first in the new year was a dark-haired warrior (aka not a fair-haired Viking!) who brought a bit of coal/peat, a loaf of bread and uisge beatha (whisky). It meant that you would be safe, warm and fed in the new year!


    Terri

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    1. Makes sense! My son carries my father's features...tall and dark-haired, but his blue eyes show his Viking heritage through the Scot's Gunn Clan. He is due here, today!

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  11. Me late faither was from Glesca (Glasgow) and he used to tell tales of wandering from bar to bar on January 1st, to find lines of redheads, blonds, short men and women waiting for a tall, dark-haired man to walk through the door first. He was all too willing to oblige and drank for free for his efforts. He said that in order to bring good luck for the new year, the man needed to have a bottle (so you'll have enough to drink), shortbread (so you'll have enough to eat) and a lump of coal (so you'll be warm through the cold nights). We've carried on the tradition, since my husband is tall, though getting gray, and all 3 of our sons are tall and dark-haired.

    My Dad's favorite new year's toast was: Lang may yur lum reek; translation: Long may your chimney have smoke coming out of it, because it's keeping you warm and you can cook. Also he'd say, "Here's tae us, wuz lak us, damn the yens that duznae lak us". Or, "Here's to us, all that are like us, and to hell with those who don't like us and aren't us". He called that the "Wuz like us" syndrome, where you bless those who are kin and damn everyone else.

    Unfortunately, since I associate the accent and all things Scottish with my Dad, I'm probably the only romance writer who doesn't find Highlanders sexy, so I don't read or write about them. But my husband and 2 of our sons own kilts that they wear when we go to the local Renaissance Faire, when I dress up in my gown.

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  12. I've also heard the Irish talk about the good luck of having a tall, handsome and dark man entering the house. Red haired women were supposed to be bad luck I guess I'm in trouble.

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  13. My dark-haired son entered the house on January 1st and helped bring the holiday boxes down from the attic. Good luck, and another chore done!

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