Hogmanay (pronounced Hog-ma-naay, emphasis on the last syllable), is the Scots word for the last day of the year, (which to the rest of us is known as New Year's Eve), and is the word that describes the Scottish celebrations of this day. It's a pretty big deal here in Scotland, in some ways bigger than Christmas because there is a bank holiday here in Scotland January 2nd as well. Hogmanay is celebrated in its own special way, in communities up and down the country, with some more notable bashes in Edinburgh and Stonehaven. Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations are a must-see for many, with people flocking from all over Scotland, Europe and even the world to the city to revel en masse. While flying back from Germany for our Christmas celebrations in 2010, there were many people on our flight going to Edinburgh specifically for the party. You can be a part of the street party or concert in the gardens, both along Princes Street. For more information, click here.
Another noteworthy and very interesting Hogmanay celebration takes place further north, close to where we live! The fireballs of Stonehaven are another iconic Scottish sight on the 31st of December, where people come together and line the High Street down to the harbour, waiting for midnight to arrive and the fires to begin. The festivities are ignited by the sound of bagpipes, with flashes of tartan everywhere as the lucky chosen ones begin their parade down the High Street, swinging above their heads their large ball of chicken wire full of flammable materials, set ablaze to be ultimately tossed in the harbour. It's quite the event! People literally come from near and far to see it, and a good spot on the street is highly coveted.The year we went, a woman was angry with us for standing in front of her, which, although I didn't know at the time, ruined Pat's planned marriage proposal that night! It wasn't all lost though, he proposed the next day. Did I mention December 31st is the day we met? For more information on the Stonehaven fireballs, click here.
Our Hogmanay this year was a good one. We got to spend our 'meet-a-versary' as my friend Shannon says, with close friends and family, eating Mexican food, playing board games and laughing a lot. We went over to my sister-in-law Erica's Mom's huge house, where we stayed the night and enjoyed a delicious brunch New Year's Day. We had also decided we would dress up in the Mexican theme as well, however you wanted to interpret it. Pat and his brother Aidan dressed as Mexican cowboys, Erica as a Mexican peasant woman-ish, and me in the outfit I was wearing when I met Pat. Our friends Stuart and Colleen came as a fabulous cross-dresser (Stuart) and a glamorous 70's lady (Colleen). Not Mexican but still good!
Our spread of chicken and rice enchiladas by moi, chili con carne and salsa by Erica.
Mexican Hogmanay party people!
|Happy New Year!|
|A ghost was here!|
And in continuing with Hogmanay tradition, we did our 'first footing' to the in-laws the following day, where we presumably were their first guests of the new year. Traditionally, guests brought gifts of salt, coal, shortbread, whisky or fruit cake, to bring luck to the homeowner, we brought alcohol! The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall dark men are preferred as the first-foot, (source). The typical New Year's Day dish is steak pie, basically a beef stew with a puff pastry lid, which many get at their local butcher. Instead, (and preferably), my mother-in-law made a superb, fall apart beef brisket with vegetables, and this heavenly clementine and almond cake. Oh. My. God!
Next up: My goals (intentions? hopes?) for 2013