There is nowhere more fun for New Year than Scotland, where the last day of December is known as Hogmanay. A lot of my fellow countrymen consider New Year as a more important time to celebrate than Christmas, and the consumption of “Scottish water” takes on a life of its own. The traditional form of celebrating (apart from the consumption of huge amounts of “refreshments”) is either slumped in front of the telly watching the annual New Year programs or for those more lively by nature, to go dancing. The ceilidh band (squeezebox, fiddle, and drums) is the traditional source of music for dancing highland reels, with names like the Dashing White Sergeant, the Duke of Perth, the Reel of the 51st and the Gay Gordons. It’s a lot of fun to gather with friends and family of all ages (teenage to dotage) in a village hall or large house and dance until the wee hours these wonderful reels. Everyone stops to listen to the clock chime midnight, then there is much shouting and kissing and everyone joins hands in a circle and sings “For Auld Lang Syne,” the Robbie Burns ballad. Some people like to then go “first footing,” which is when you grab a bottle and walk around the village having a wee tot with all your neighbors. This can go on for some time! The Scots are a hospitable nation but never more so than on New Year’s Ave.
Andrew is the director of Loyd & Townsend-Rose Ltd., and UltraVilla’s specialist for Scotland.