Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Hogmanay! Huh?

I'm a proud Scot. Some examples:
~ As a child I was in awe of my mother's grandparents (Sidney & Maggie Row, immigrants) even though I could not figure out what they were saying during their little bickering sessions but somehow (perhaps because of this) I can now do a fantastic Scottish accent. (I love randomly broguing the phrase SCOTLAND YARD!)
~ On special occassions, my son and I proudly don our clan tartan neckties.
~ I love Craig Ferguson and the bagpipes more than my children (some days).
~ I almost bought a kilt when I was in Nova Scotia a few summers ago but (stereotype intact) I was too cheap.
~I actually own Scottish Strongman trading cards purchased at a highland games competition in Antigonish.
~And here's the kicker: I got married on Hogmanay! (And yeah, some people chose to, or as I like to call it, were forced to wear plaid.)

Despite all this, there's something I must confess. Someday when I finally travel to Scotland, it will all make sense but as of right now, this Canadian does not understand Hogmanay. What the hell is going on?

Craig Ferguson has an intriguing definition for Scotland's New Year's Eve celebrations. Hogmanay (noun): "a time when people who can inspire awe in the Irish for the amount of alcohol they can drink decide to ramp it up a notch."

It sounds like a pretty big deal. So I did some typically pea-brained research. I hope one of my readers out there can shed some much-needed light on this topic but until then, apparently this is what's possibly happening in Scotland right now:
  1. (no surprise) people are wearing kilts (with long johns I hope);
  2. (no surprise) people are getting rowdy and shit-faced drunk (just like here in Canada or the US or well okay, most of Earth);
  3. (surprise) people are throwing around balls of fire? (see photo borrowed from Life magazine online);
  4. (surprise) people are giving gifts or at least bringing food to parties (ceilidhs)? Thanks to Laoch, I am told these usually involve fist-fights. Uh, why give someone a bloody-nose if they brought you a present/bundt cake?
  5. (surprise) a tall dark-haired dude must be the first one to enter your home after midnight? (I believe this tradition is referred to as first-footing? And I'm guessing my wife would choose Jake Gyllenhaal.)
  6. (no surprise) people listen to great music and sing Old Lang Syne at midnight. (Robbie Burns may be the bomb dot com but can anyone possibly remember those lyrics? It's like a misheard lyrics wet-dream.)
  7. (surprise) people burn other shit too? Seriously, a Viking ship? I think Ewan McGregor might be involved. (Is there no security or what?)
  8. (no surprise) people have to kiss pigs (I suspect this is how women all over the world describe New Year's Eve.)
  9. (surprise) people fling haggis and/or curling rocks at politicians (I totally made this one up but it sounds reasonable to me.)
Whatever it is they're doing, I only have one more thing to say: I'm jealous.

10 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love Craig Ferguson too, that bouncy effete little bugger.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

P.S. Happy New Year's -- I mean, Hogmanay!

Vinny C said...

So, if I get this straight, there are a bunch of drunk, rowdy people, fighting, kissing pigs & burning all kinds of shit.

If they add number 9 in, I'm moving to Scotland.

paulsifer42 said...

I'm Irish, but this celebrations sounds like it rocks hard. I may have to skip and island or two. ;)

Alittlesprite said...

Sounds like a typical night in Australia :)
Happy New Hogmanay Year!


My word association was: riot
Not Kidding!

SherilinR said...

i do love me some craig ferg. he could be the man through the door after midnight. =)

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

That looks like so much fun! HOW have I never heard of this before? OMG I so need to go there sometime for this celebration!

Alistair said...

Hullo DSB. Happy Hogmanay!

A wee bit of help with the list....

1. Nae longjohns. Nae Pants. Nae Nuthin'. It's tradition and we're very big on that over here. People who wear pants {that's underwear in our culture, the other things are trousers - troosers - AKA breeks. Don't ask. It's a long story} are weaklings or worse, possible English!
2.Shit faced over here is fou, puggled, wasted, oot yer face, steamin or stocious. At Hogmanay you have to get this way. It's the law. Honest!
3. This 'balls of fire' thing is our way of trying to heat the audience and share the love. Sometimes it's a way of retaining personal space in a crowd and preventing female tourists from checking that you're a real Scotsman under that kilt. Actually that last bit is fairly rare, but at New Year those hands can be bloomin cold.
4. You have to bring food or drink to a party or you don't let them in. We're all for a party but we're still Scots!
5. This is a rumour only. See No.4.
We're no daft. The more food and drink the better the party.
6.To be honest some of the music can be awful - but it's better with plenty of booze. [rule No 4 again] Even us Scots don't know the words to 'Auld Lang Syne' its more about having a wee dance about in preparation for No 8really.
7. This nonsense - known as Up-Helly-A only happens on Shetland. These are a confused bunch of inbred islanders who don't really know if they're scots or Vikings - or how to work - or build - a BBQ that doesn't look like a boat properly. It's a bit of a shame really and we don't talk about it except in a really patronising way.
8. I've never heard of this one but I've kissed a few dogs in my time. You can get arrested for kissing policemen - even at Hogmanay.
9.If you made this up you're definitely Scots!!

Slainte {cheers}

Al.

The Gaelic Wife said...

Now it all makes sense!

#1 - *I* wear something under *my* kilt.

#5 - Mr. Gaelic is 6'5" with dark brown/almost black hair. He's our midnight good luck charm.

#7 - Our Jewish Viking neighbor has an annual party where they burn a boat in the back yard. But it's on the winter solsitce.

#10 - I'm still waiting for an introduction to Al.

dbs said...

Re#1: I don't blame you.
Re#5: Is Mr. Gaelic related to Hagrid?! Re: #7 But I thought the boat burning thing was a warning to Vikings? Re: #10 Check my blogroll: "crivens..."

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