Hogmanay (Scots: [ˌhɔɡməˈneː];[1] English: /ˌhɒɡməˈneɪ/ HOG-mə-NAY[2]) is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year's Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.

The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but it may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances. Customs vary throughout Scotland, and usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours, with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.

Fireworks for Edinburgh's Hogmanay


The etymology of the word is obscure. The earliest proposed etymology comes from the 1693 Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, which held that the term was a corruption of the Greek agía míne (αγία μήνη), or "holy month".[3] The three main modern theories derive it from a French, Norse or Gaelic root.

The word is first recorded in a Latin entry in 1443 in the West Riding of Yorkshire as hagnonayse.[4] The first appearance in English came in 1604 in the records of Elgin, as hagmonay.[5] Subsequent 17th-century spellings include Hagmena (1677),[4] Hogmynae night (1681),[4] and Hagmane (1693) in an entry of the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence.[3][6]

Although "Hogmanay" is currently the predominant spelling and pronunciation, a number of variant spellings and pronunciations have been recorded, including:[7]

  • Hoghmanay[6]
  • Hagman(a)e[7]
  • Hagmonay[7]
  • Hagmonick[6]
  • Hanginay (Roxburghshire)[6]
  • Hangmanay[7]
  • Hogernoany (Shetland)[6]
  • Hogminay/Hogmenay/Hogmynae[6]
  • Hoguemennay[6]
  • Huggeranohni (Shetland)[6]
  • Hu(i)gmanay[7]

with the first syllable variously being /hɔg/, /hog/, /hʌg/, /hʌug/ or /haŋ/.

Possible French etymologies

It may have been introduced to Middle Scots via French. The most commonly cited explanation is a derivation from the northern French dialectal word hoguinané, or variants such as hoginane, hoginono and hoguinettes, those being derived from 16th century Middle French aguillanneuf meaning either a gift given at New Year, a children's cry for such a gift, or New Year's Eve itself.[7][8] Compare also the apparent Spanish cognate aguinaldo/aguilando, with a suggested Latin derivation of hoc in anno "in this year."[9]

This explanation is supported by a children's tradition, observed up to the 1960s in some parts of Scotland at least, of visiting houses in their locality on New Year's Eve and requesting and receiving small treats such as sweets or fruit. The second element would appear to be l'an neuf (the New Year), with some sources suggesting a druidical origin of the practice overall.[10] Compare those to Norman hoguinané and the obsolete customs in Jersey of crying ma hodgîngnole, and in Guernsey of asking for an oguinane, for a New Year gift (see also La Guiannee). In Québec, "la guignolée" was a door-to-door collection for the poor.[11]

Other suggestions include au gui mener ("lead to the mistletoe"),[12] à gueux mener ('bring to the beggars'),[12] au gui l'an neuf ('at the mistletoe the new year', or (l')homme est né ('(the) man is born').[13]

Possible Goidelic etymologies

The word may have come from the Goidelic languages. Frazer and Kelley report a Manx new-year song that begins with the line To-night is New Year's Night, Hogunnaa but did not record the full text in Manx.[14][15] Kelley himself uses the spelling Og-u-naa... Tro-la-la[16] whereas other sources parse this as hog-un-naa and give the modern Manx form as Hob dy naa.[17] Manx dictionaries though give Hop-tu-Naa (Manx pronunciation: [hopʰ tθu neː]), generally glossing it as "Hallowe'en",[18][19] same as many of the more Manx-specific folklore collections.[20]

In this context it is also recorded that in the south of Scotland (for example Roxburghshire), there is no ⟨m⟩, the word thus being Hunganay, which could suggest the ⟨m⟩ is intrusive.[17]

Another theory occasionally encountered is a derivation from the phrase thog mi an èigh/eugh ([hok mi ˈɲeː], "I raised the cry"), which resembles Hogmanay in pronunciation and was part of the rhymes traditionally recited at New Year[21] but it is unclear if this is simply a case of folk etymology.

Overall, Gaelic consistently refers to the New Year's Eve as Oidhche na Bliadhn(a) Ùir(e) ("the Night of the New Year") and Oidhche Challainn ("the Night of the Calends").[22][23][24]

Possible Norse etymologies

Some authors reject both the French and Goidelic theories, and instead suggest that the ultimate source both for the Norman French, Scots, and Goidelic variants of this word have a common Norse root.[25] It is suggested that the full forms

  • "Hoginanaye-Trollalay/Hogman aye, Troll a lay" (with a Manx cognate Hop-tu-Naa, Trolla-laa)
  • "Hogmanay, Trollolay, give us of your white bread and none of your gray"[26]

invoke the hill-men (Icelandic haugmenn, cf Anglo-Saxon hoghmen) or "elves" and banishes the trolls into the sea (Norse á læ "into the sea").[25][27] Repp furthermore makes a link between "Trollalay/Trolla-laa" and the rhyme recorded in Percy's Relics: "Trolle on away, trolle on awaye. Synge heave and howe rombelowe trolle on away", which he reads as a straightforward invocation of troll-banning.[27][28]


The roots of Hogmanay perhaps reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Norse,[29] as well as incorporating customs from the Gaelic celebration of Samhain. The Vikings celebrated Yule,[29] which later contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas, or the "Daft Days" as they were sometimes called in Scotland. Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland.[13] This may have been a result of the Protestant Reformation after which Christmas was seen as "too Papist".[30]


There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake), intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall, dark-haired men are preferred as the first-foot.[31]

Local customs

Stonehave fireballs 2003
Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony 2003
Catalonian Sun Goddess
Catalan Sun Goddess from the Hogmanay Street Party, Edinburgh 2005

An example of a local Hogmanay custom is the fireball swinging that takes place in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, in northeast Scotland. This involves local people making up "balls" of chicken wire filled with old newspaper, sticks, rags, and other dry flammable material up to a diameter of 2 feet (0.61 m), each attached to about 3 feet (0.91 m) of wire, chain or nonflammable rope. As the Old Town House bell sounds to mark the new year, the balls are set alight and the swingers set off up the High Street from the Mercat Cross to the Cannon and back, swinging the burning balls around their heads as they go.

At the end of the ceremony, any fireballs that are still burning are cast into the harbour. Many people enjoy this display, and large crowds flock to see it,[32] with 12,000 attending the 2007/2008 event.[33] In recent years, additional attractions have been added to entertain the crowds as they wait for midnight, such as fire poi, a pipe band, street drumming and a firework display after the last fireball is cast into the sea. The festivities are now streamed live over the Internet.[32] Another example of a pagan fire festival is the burning the clavie in the town of Burghead in Moray.

In the east coast fishing communities and Dundee, first-footers once carried a decorated herring. And in Falkland in Fife, local men marched in torchlight procession to the top of the Lomond Hills as midnight approached. Bakers in St Andrews baked special cakes for their Hogmanay celebration (known as "Cake Day") and distributed them to local children.

Institutions also had their own traditions. For example, amongst the Scottish regiments, officers waited on the men at special dinners while at the bells, the Old Year is piped out of barrack gates. The sentry then challenges the new escort outside the gates: "Who goes there?" The answer is "The New Year, all's well."[34]

An old custom in the Highlands – which has survived to a small extent and seen some degree of revival – is to celebrate Hogmanay with the saining (Scots for 'protecting, blessing') of the household and livestock. Early on New Year's morning, householders drink and then sprinkle 'magic water' from 'a dead and living ford' around the house (a 'dead and living ford' refers to a river ford that is routinely crossed by both the living and the dead). After the sprinkling of the water in every room, on the beds and all the inhabitants, the house is sealed up tight and branches of juniper are set on fire and carried throughout the house and byre. The juniper smoke is allowed to thoroughly fumigate the buildings until it causes sneezing and coughing among the inhabitants. Then all the doors and windows are flung open to let in the cold, fresh air of the new year. The woman of the house then administers 'a restorative' from the whisky bottle, and the household sits down to its New Year breakfast.[35]

"Auld Lang Syne"

John Masey Wright - John Rogers - Robert Burns - Auld Lang Syne
John Masey Wright and John Rogers' c. 1841 illustration of Auld Lang Syne.

The Hogmanay custom of singing "Auld Lang Syne" has become common in many countries. "Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem by Robert Burns, based on traditional and other earlier sources. It is now common to sing this in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight for New Year's Day, though it is only intended that participants link arms at the beginning of the final verse, before rushing in to the centre as a group.[36]

In the media

Between 1957 and 1968, a New Year's Eve television programme, The White Heather Club, was presented to herald in the Hogmanay celebrations. The show was presented by Andy Stewart who always began by singing "Come in, come in, it's nice to see you...." The show always ended with Andy Stewart and the cast singing, "Haste ye Back":

Haste ye back, we loue you dearly,
Call again you're welcome here.
May your days be free from sorrow,
And your friends be ever near.

May the paths o'er which you wander,
Be to you a joy each day.
Haste ye back we loue you dearly,
Haste ye back on friendship's way.

The performers were Jimmy Shand and band, Ian Powrie and his band, Scottish country dancers: Dixie Ingram and the Dixie Ingram Dancers, Joe Gordon Folk Four, James Urquhart, Ann & Laura Brand, Moira Anderson & Kenneth McKellar. All the male dancers and Andy Stewart wore kilts, and the female dancers wore long white dresses with tartan sashes. Following the demise of the White Heather Club, Andy Stewart continued to feature regularly in TV Hogmanay shows until his retirement.[37] His last appearance was in 1992.

In the 1980s comedian Andy Cameron presented the Hogmanay Show (on STV in 1983 and 1984 and from 1985 to 1990 on BBC Scotland) while Peter Morrison presented the show A Highland Hogmanay on STV/Grampian, axed in 1993.

For many years, a staple of New Year's Eve television programming in Scotland was the comedy sketch show Scotch and Wry, featuring the comedian Rikki Fulton, which invariably included a hilarious monologue from him as the gloomy Reverend I.M. Jolly.

Since 1993, the programmes that have been mainstays on BBC Scotland on Hogmanay have been Hogmanay Live and Jonathan Watson's football-themed sketch comedy show, Only an Excuse?.

Presbyterian influence

The 1693 Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence contained one of the first mentions of the holiday in official church records.[3] Hogmanay was treated with general disapproval. Still, in Scotland Hogmanay and New Year's Day are as important as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Although Christmas Day held its normal religious nature in Scotland amongst its Catholic and Episcopalian communities, the Presbyterian national church, the Church of Scotland, discouraged the celebration of Christmas for nearly 400 years; it only became a public holiday in Scotland in 1958. Conversely, 1 and 2 January are public holidays and Hogmanay still is associated with as much celebration as Christmas in Scotland.

Edinburgh Hogmanay Longship
A Viking longship is burnt during Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay celebrations (though Edinburgh has no historical connection with those Norse who invaded Scotland).

Major celebrations

As in much of the world, the largest Scottish cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – hold all-night celebrations, as do Stirling and Inverness. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations are among the largest in the world. Celebrations in Edinburgh in 1996–97 were recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest New Years party, with approximately 400,000 people in attendance. Numbers were then restricted due to safety concerns.[38]

In 2003-4 most of the organised events were cancelled at short notice due to very high winds. The Stonehaven Fireballs went ahead as planned, however, with some 6,000 people braving the stormy weather to watch 42 fireball swingers process along the High Street.[39] Similarly, the 2006–07 celebrations in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling were all cancelled on the day, again due to high winds and heavy rain.[40] The Aberdeen celebration, however, went ahead, and was opened by the pop music group, Wet Wet Wet.


Most Scots still celebrate New Year's Day with a special dinner, usually steak pie.[41][42]

Handsel Day

Historically, presents were given in Scotland on the first Monday of the New Year. A roast dinner would be eaten to celebrate the festival. Handsel was a word for gift and hence "Handsel Day".[43] In modern Scotland this practice has died out.


  1. ^ The Concise Scots Dictionary Cambers (1985) ISBN 0-08-028491-4
  2. ^ "Hogmanay". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ a b c Crokatt, Gilbert; Monroe, John (1738) [First published 1693]. Scotch Presbyterian eloquence display'd. Rotterdam: J. Johnson. p. 120. It is ordinary among some plebeians in the South of Scotland to go about from door to door upon New-years Eve, crying Hagmane, a corrupted Word from the Greek αγια μηνη, which signifies the Holy Month.
  4. ^ a b c "hogmanay, n.". OED Online. December 2014. Oxford University Press. (accessed 22 December 2014).
  5. ^ "delatit to haue been singand hagmonayis on Satirday"
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hagmane". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Robinson, Mairi (ed) The Concise Scots Dictionary (1985) The Scottish National Dictionary Association ISBN 0-08-028491-4
  8. ^ Campbell, John Gregorson (1900, 1902, 2005) The Gaelic Otherworld. Edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh, Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-207-7 p. 575: "'Hogmanay' is French in origin. In northern French dialect it was hoguinané, going back to Middle French aguillaneuf, meaning a gift given on New Year's eve or the word cried out in soliciting it."
  9. ^ "Aguilando". www.rae.es. Real Academia Española. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  10. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Vol I (1823) 6th Edition
  11. ^ Roy, Pierre-Georges Les petites choses de notre histoire Garneau (1944)
  12. ^ a b Chambers, R. Popular Rhymes of Scotland Chambers (1841) 3rd Edition
  13. ^ a b "Hogmanay", Scotland.org. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
  14. ^ Frazer, Sir James George The Golden Bough 1922
  15. ^ Kelley, Ruth The Book of Hallowe'en (1919)
  16. ^ Y Kelley, Yuan Fockleyr Gailckagh as Baarlagh (1866) The Manx Society
  17. ^ a b Folk-lore – A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution and Custom Vol II (1891) The Folk-lore Society
  18. ^ Broderick, G. A Handbook of Late Spoken Manx Niemeyer (1984) ISBN 3-484-42904-6
  19. ^ Fargher, Douglas Fockleyr Baarle-Gaelg (1979) Shearwater Press ISBN 0-904980-23-5
  20. ^ Moore, A.W. Manx Ballads & Music (1896) G R Johnson
  21. ^ "Origin of Hogmanay". Townsville Daily Bulletin. 5 January 1940. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  22. ^ MacBain, A. Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language (1896)
  23. ^ Dwelly, E. The Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary (1941)
  24. ^ Mark, Colin The Gaelic-English Dictionary (2004) Routledge ISBN 0-415-29761-3
  25. ^ a b Harrison, W. Mona Miscellany (1869) Manx Society
  26. ^ Chambers, R. Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1841) W&R Chambers p. 165
  27. ^ a b Repp, Thorl On the Scottish Formula of Congratulation on New Year's Eve – "Hogmanay, Trollalay" (1831) Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol IV
  28. ^ Percy, Thomas Percy's Reliques (1765)
  29. ^ a b "The History of Hogmanay". Historic UK.
  30. ^ Bogle, Lara Suziedelis. "Scots Mark New Year With Fiery Ancient Rites", National Geographic News, 31 December 2002
  31. ^ "Hogmanay traditions, old and new". BBC. 30 December 2015.
  32. ^ a b Stonehaven Fireball Association photos and videos of festivities. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  33. ^ Aberdeen Press and Journal 2 January 2018. "around 12,000 turned out in Stonehaven to watch the town's traditional fireball ceremony." Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  34. ^ 'Hogmanay Traditions Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine' at Scotland's Tourism Board. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  35. ^ McNeill, F. Marian (1961). "X Hogmany Rites and Superstitions". The Silver Bough, Vol.3: A Calendar of Scottish National Festivals, Halloween to Yule. Glasgow: William MacLellan. p. 113. ISBN 0-948474-04-1.
  36. ^ "Auld Lang Syne could be lost as only 3 per cent know the words". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  37. ^ "A funny wee idea for a show: Ian Jack misses Andy Stewart and the whole 'White Heather Club' crowd". The Independent. 16 October 1993.
  38. ^ "Numbers cut for Hogmanay party". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  39. ^ 'History of the Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony', 3 January 2008, at Stonehaven Fireballs Association. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  40. ^ 'Weather spoils Hogmanay parties', 1 January 2007, at BBC News, Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  41. ^ 'Scottish Hogmanay Customs and Traditions at New Year' at About Aberdeen. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  42. ^ "Our humble pie man". www.scotsman.com.
  43. ^ "Handsel". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) "A gift or present (expressive of good wishes)".

See also


  • Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, Brand, London, 1859
  • Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernesiais, de Garis, Chichester, 1982
  • Dictionnaire Jersiais-Français, Le Maistre, Jersey, 1966
  • Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh

External links

Andy Cameron

Andrew Graham Cameron MBE (born 1940) is a Scottish comedian, television and radio broadcaster.

He was born in London while his father, Hugh Cameron, was serving in the Army during World War II. Cameron was raised by his grandmother, Isabella 'Bella' Cameron, in the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen, south-east of Glasgow, Scotland. Prior to pursuing this career he had worked for a time with the Glasgow-based structural engineering firm, Sir William Arrol & Co. and for Glasgow Corporation Transport.

He entered show business when he was 32, initially working in clubs. His act as a football hooligan led to him becoming a top comedy act in Scottish football clubs. He is probably best known for writing and performing the football anthem "Ally's Tartan Army" for the Scotland national football team's appearance at the 1978 World Cup. It went to #6 in the UK Singles Chart and led to two appearances on Top of the Pops in 1978. Cameron promptly put all of the profits from his single into producing an album, which he hoped to release while the World Cup fever in Scotland was still going strong. He was too late - Scotland team went out of the World Cup early and Cameron's album fared equally badly. Andy also released a song in the 70's for his beloved Glasgow Rangers - 'The Greatest Team of All' - which still appears on the odd Rangers compilation album.

In 1975 he came second in New Faces leading to several appearances on variety shows such as Live at Her Majesty’s with Jimmy Tarbuck and Tarby and Friends.

In 1979, soon after the establishment of BBC Radio Scotland, he was given a thirteen-week contract to present a programme of music and humour. The show eventually ran for fifteen years. He was voted Radio Personality of the year in 1984. He had his own series on BBC Scotland in 1979 and again in 1982. He was awarded Scottish Television Personality of the Year for his 1983 series called It’s Andy Cameron.

In the early 1980s he was invited to speak in debates at Cambridge and Oxford Universities alongside Arnold Brown and James Naughtie.

In 1984, Cameron presented STV's Hogmanay show. The following year he presented the BBC Scotland Hogmanay show, and continued to do so until 1989. His last Hogmanay appearance was in 1990, in a short programme called Andy's Scottish Filling which preceded the live BBC Hogmanay Show.

In 1994 Cameron joined the cast of Take the High Road, the STV soap. He played a character called Chic Cherry, until the last episode in 2003.

Cameron is a well-known celebrity supporter of Rangers F.C. In the early 1980s he caused some controversy by attacking the club's anti-catholic signing policies at an Annual General Meeting of the club. He has a 'stand-up' act before Rangers' home league matches. In 1999, a follower of rival club Aberdeen F.C. ran from the away section at Ibrox Stadium to assault Cameron as he performed a routine on the pitch prior to kick-off – the assailant was banned by the club and fined at court.He currently works as an after dinner speaker. Furthermore, he presented a show on Clyde 2 on Sunday afternoons until that show ended in late 2009 when he was replaced by Tom Ferrie, whose show is now networked by two or three others Scottish radio stations.

Cameron was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity in Glasgow.

Auld Lang Syne

"Auld Lang Syne" (Scots pronunciation: [ˈɔːl(d) lɑŋˈsəin]: note "s" rather than "z") is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Scouting movement in many countries uses it to close jamborees and other functions.The poem's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times".

The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711), as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "in the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "once upon a time" in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.

Black bun

Black bun is a type of fruit cake completely covered with pastry. It is Scottish in origin, originally eaten on Twelfth Night but now enjoyed at Hogmanay. The cake mixture typically contains raisins, currants, almonds, citrus peel, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. It had originally been introduced following the return of Mary, Queen of Scots from France, but its original use at Twelfth Night ended with the Scottish Reformation. It was subsequently used for first-footing over Hogmanay.

Burning of the Clavie

Burning the clavie is an ancient Scottish custom still observed at Burghead, a fishing village on the Moray Firth. The clavie is a collection of casks split in two, lit as a bonfire in the evening of 11 January, i.e. New Year's Eve (in Scotland, Hogmanay) by the Julian Calendar. One of these casks is joined together again by a huge nail (Latin clavis; hence the term, it may also be from Scottish Gaelic cliabh, a basket used for holding combustibles). It is then filled with tar, lighted and carried flaming round the village and finally up to a headland upon which stands the ruins of an altar, locally called the Doorie. It here forms the nucleus of the bonfire, which is built up of split casks. When the burning tar-barrel falls in pieces, the people scramble to get a lighted piece with which to kindle the New Year's fire on their cottage hearth. The charcoal of the clavie is collected and put in pieces up the cottage chimneys, to keep spirits and witches from coming down.

Chewin' the Fat

Chewin' the Fat is a Scottish comedy sketch show, starring Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill and Karen Dunbar. Comedians Paul Riley and Mark Cox also appeared regularly on the show among other actors such as Gregor Fisher and Tom Urie.

Chewin' the Fat first started as a radio series on BBC Radio Scotland. The later television show, which ran for four series, was first broadcast on BBC One Scotland, but series three and four, as well as highlights from the first two series, were later broadcast nationally across the United Kingdom. Although the last series ended in February 2002, six Hogmanay specials were broadcast each New Year's Eve between 2000–05, which were later offered on DVD when purchasing the Scottish Sun.Chewin' the Fat gave rise to the spin-off show Still Game, a sitcom focusing on the two elderly friends, Jack and Victor.

The series was mostly filmed in and around Glasgow and occasionally West Dunbartonshire.

The English idiom to chew the fat means to chat casually, but thoroughly, about subjects of mutual interest.

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan

Colin Lewis McAllister and Justin Patrick Ryan are Scottish interior decorators and television presenters, often billed as Colin and Justin.

As well as being co-hosts, McAllister and Ryan have also been a couple since 1986 and have been credited for introducing laminate flooring to British households. On 15 February 2008, they had a private civil partnership ceremony in London followed by a Caribbean honeymoon.Although their main residence is in Glasgow, they divide their time between there and London. They have filmed 4 13-episode series of Colin and Justin's Home Heist for HGTV, which is broadcast in approximately 25 countries.


Comrie(; Gaelic: Cuimridh; Pictish: Aberlednock; Latin: Victoria) is a village and parish in the southern Highlands of Scotland, towards the western end of the Strathearn district of Perth and Kinross, 7 miles (11 km) west of Crieff. Comrie is a historic conservation village, situated in a national scenic area around the river Earn. Located on the Highland Boundary Fault, the village experiences more earth tremors than anywhere else in Britain. It is twinned with Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the observance of Hogmanay—the Scottish celebration of the New Year—held in Edinburgh, Scotland.


In Scottish and Northern English folklore, the first-foot, also known in Manx Gaelic as quaaltagh or qualtagh, is the first person to enter the home of a household on New Year's Day and is seen as a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.Although it is acceptable in many places for the first-foot to be a resident of the house, they must not be in the house at the stroke of midnight in order to be the first-foot. Thus, going out of the house after midnight and then coming back into the same house is not considered to be first-footing. It is said to be desirable for the first-foot to be a tall, dark-haired male; a female or fair-haired male are in some places regarded as unlucky. In Worcestershire, luck is ensured by stopping the first carol singer who appears and leading him through the house. In Yorkshire, it must always be a male who enters the house first, but his fairness is no objection.The first-foot usually brings several gifts, including perhaps a coin (silver is considered good luck), bread, salt, coal, evergreen, and/or a drink (usually whisky), which represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, long-life, and good cheer respectively. In Scotland, first-footing has traditionally been more elaborate than in England, involving subsequent entertainment.Whenever a public ritual is suppressed many continue it at another date. Many customs of First Footing: bringing coal, knocking on doors, group singing Auld Lang Syne to pass from the old to the new, parallel those of Samhain, the Celtic new year, for which fuel was gathered, food collected by reciting verses door-to-door, and a ritual fire lit to welcome crossing the threshold to the next world. “Quite a degree of transferability of customs across the period between Samhain ... Christmas and New Year. Whether this represents a natural tendency to transfer celebrations that brighten the dull winter months or a concerted religious effort to dissipate or transform wholly pagan festivities remains unclear, but a combination of factors is likely.” There are practices similar to first-footing outside the British isles. For example, it exists in Sweden, where having a fair skinned, blond(e) first-foot is considered the highest blessing whereas darker persons are considered bad luck. In a similar Greek tradition called pothariko, also called "podariko" (from the root pod-, or foot), it is believed that the first person to enter the house on New Year's Eve brings either good or bad luck. Many households to this day keep this tradition and specially select who first enters the house. After the first-foot, the lady of the house serves the guests with Christmas treats or gives them an amount of money to ensure that good luck will come in the new year.

A similar tradition exists in the country of Georgia, where the person is called "mekvle" (from "kvali" – footstep, footprint, trace).

Hogmanay Live

Hogmanay Live is BBC Scotland's annual live event programme broadcast from the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on Hogmanay, Scotland's New Year's Eve celebration. Regardless of location, the programme rings in the New Year with the firing of Edinburgh Castle's One O'Clock Gun and the subsequent fireworks and celebrations in Edinburgh.

The programme features a mixture of Scottish contemporary and folk music, with some past programming also featuring live coverage of parts of the Princes Street concert in Edinburgh, Its current presenter is Jackie Bird and Phil Cunningham often hosted together each year but since 2008 she has solely been presenting the programme. Cunningham does however still appear on the program just not as a host.Carol Kirkwood reported on the 2016 edition of the show live from Edinburgh Castle. The show currently is hosted live from The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow. Until 2013, Bird was live from Edinburgh Castle or Princes Street, but the show's producers decided that it should take place in Glasgow permanently.

Life with You

Life with You, released in 2007, is the seventh studio album by the Proclaimers. It appeared on W14, a joint venture label between Universal Records and John Williams, the man who gave the Proclaimers their first recording contract on Chrysalis Records. The album reached number 13 in the UK albums chart.

Only an Excuse?

Only an Excuse? is an annual Scottish comedy sketch show that airs on BBC One Scotland each Hogmanay.

Starring actor and comedian Jonathan Watson, the show features impressions of some of Scottish football's great characters such as Denis Law, Tommy Burns, Barry Ferguson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Frank McAvennie, Walter Smith and Graeme Souness, as well as caricatures of the "stereotypical" Old Firm fan.

Paolo Nutini

Paolo Giovanni Nutini (born 9 January 1987) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and musician from Paisley. Nutini's debut album, These Streets (2006), peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. Its follow-up, Sunny Side Up (2009), debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart. Both albums have been certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.After 5 years, Nutini released his third studio album, Caustic Love, in April 2014. The album received positive reviews from music critics. Caustic Love debuted at number one on the UK Album Charts and was certified platinum by the BPI in June 2014.In late July 2014, he was referred to by the BBC as "arguably Scotland's biggest musician right now".


Saining is a Scots word for blessing, protecting or consecrating. Sain is cognate with the Irish and Scottish Gaelic seun and sian and the Old Irish sén - "a protective charm."Traditional saining rites may involve water that has been blessed in some fashion, or the smoke from burning juniper, accompanied by spoken prayers or poetry. Saining can also refer to less formal customs like making religious signs to protect against evil, such as the sign of the cross. In Shetland, the Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeil refers to the custom of making the sign of Thor's hammer to sain the goblet that was passed around at New Year's celebrations.An old Hogmanay (New Year's) custom in the Highlands of Scotland, which has survived to a small extent and seen some degree of revival, is to celebrate Hogmanay with the saining of the household and livestock. Early on New Year's morning, householders drink and then sprinkle 'magic water' from 'a dead and living ford' around the house (a 'dead and living ford' refers to a river ford that is routinely crossed by both the living and the dead). After the sprinkling of the water in every room, on the beds and all the inhabitants, the house is sealed up tight and branches of juniper are set on fire and carried throughout the house and byre. The juniper smoke is allowed to thoroughly fumigate the buildings until it causes sneezing and coughing among the inhabitants. Then all the doors and windows are flung open to let in the cold, fresh air of the new year. The woman of the house then administers 'a restorative' from the whisky bottle, and the household sits down to its New Year breakfast. Saining with juniper was also used in healing rites, where the evil eye was suspected to be the cause of the illness, but it apparently fell out of use by the end of the nineteenth century after a young girl with respiratory problems suffocated due to the amount of smoke that filled the house.Saining is a common practice in modern traditions based on Scottish folklore, such as blessing and protecting children and other family members. While many of the surviving saining prayers and charms are Christian in nature, others that focus on the powers of nature are used as part of Gaelic Polytheist ceremonies.

Scotch and Wry

Scotch and Wry was a Scottish television comedy sketch show produced by BBC Scotland and starring Rikki Fulton and a revolving ensemble cast which over the years included Gregor Fisher, Tony Roper, Claire Nielson, Juliet Cadzow and John Bett.

Initially running for two series from 1978 to 1979, the show went on to become a top-rating annual Hogmanay special for over a decade. The series also gave early exposure to emerging Scottish actors such as Gerard Kelly and Miriam Margolyes. In later years, cast members from sister BBC Scotland comedy show Naked Video would also make sporadic appearances.


Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit usually made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts oat flour. Other ingredients like ground rice or cornflour are sometimes added to alter the texture. Modern recipes also often deviate from the original by splitting the sugar into equal parts granulated and icing sugar and many add a portion of salt.

Shortbread is different from shortcake, though they are similar: shortcake can be made using vegetable fat instead of butter and usually has a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder, which gives it a different texture. Shortbread biscuits are often associated with normal egg-based biscuits, but they hold their shape under pressure, making them ideal for packed meals.

Shortbread originated in Scotland, with the first printed recipe, in 1736, from a Scotswoman named Mrs McLintock. Shortbread is widely associated with Christmas and Hogmanay festivities in Scotland, and the Scottish brand Walkers Shortbread is exported around the world. As a Scottish brand, shortbread is sometimes packaged in a tartan design, such as Royal Stewart tartan.

Still Game

Still Game is an Scottish sitcom, produced by The Comedy Unit with BBC Scotland. It was created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who play the lead characters, Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, two Glaswegian pensioners. The characters first appeared in the pair's previous TV sketch show Chewin' the Fat, which aired in Scotland from January 1999 until December 2005.

Following its debut on 6 September 2002, 62 episodes of Still Game were aired, including Christmas and Hogmanay specials. The first three series were broadcast only on BBC One Scotland, though five episodes selected from the first two series were later broadcast throughout the UK on BBC Two from January – February 2004. From the fourth series, Still Game was broadcast across the UK on BBC Two. With the seventh series in 2016, the programme began to be broadcast on BBC One.

It was announced on 13 July 2018 that a ninth and final series would be produced later in the year which would see the characters go into "comedy retirement". The last day of production was on 14 September 2018, and it started airing on 24 February 2019, being one of the first programmes to be shown on the brand new BBC Scotland channel.

The White Heather Club

The White Heather Club was a BBC TV Scottish variety show that ran on and off from 7 May 1958 to 1968.

Tron Kirk

The Tron Kirk is a former principal parish church in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a well-known landmark on the Royal Mile. It was built in the 17th century and closed as a church in 1952. Having stood empty for over fifty years, it was used briefly as a tourist information centre and, more recently, has been re-opened as the site of the Edinburgh World Heritage Exhibition and John Kay’s book and gift shop.

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