Happy 2015! It is once again the New Year and that means new everything! It does not just mean “new year, new me” but as a way to start anew. There are 365 brand new days ahead of us and we have the power to make each of them great! So while we ring in the new year by raising our glasses (whether it’s champagne or tea), others have their yearly rituals to ensure good luck in the coming year.

© Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Great Britain rings in the new year with fireworks over the Thames with everyone cheering and shouting their celebrations, singing Auld Lang Syne. The British then open the back door of their homes to wish the old year farewell and reflect on the year passed. The first-foot of the new year is very important. To ensure good luck to the residents of the house, the first entrant to the front door must usually be young, male, good-looking, and healthy. He must also be dark haired and carrying a bit of coal, salt, bread, and money. It’s apparently even better if this gentleman is a stranger! The children also wake up early to visit their neighbors to sing some some New Year’s songs. The neighbors usually give the children sweets, apples, mince pies, and coins in exchange for the songs. This is usually done until noon.

© Fedor Patrakov | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Fedor Patrakov | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Over in Scotland, people celebrate Hogmanay. It is the celebration of New Year’s Eve, lasting from the last day of the year up until January 2. The Scottish take it a whole new level! Fireworks and musical performances line the night at the big moment! Then at the stroke of midnight, the partygoers begin to sing Auld Lang Syne, a Scots poem by a gentleman named Robert Burns. Linking and crossing arms arms and singing at the last verse. The song is also played in Times Square in New York City after the ball drops (did you know that the ball is usually made from Waterford Crystal in Ireland?) at midnight.

© Josiah Garber | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Josiah Garber | Dreamstime Stock Photos

And much like Britain, Scotland also partakes in first-foot. They give coal, shortbread, whisky, and a black bun, which is a type of fruit cake covered in a delicious pastry. The guest is then give food and drink. In Britain, it is also a good gesture to offer tea to the guest. Possibly to accompany some delicious shortbread or mince pies/black buns. The first entrant of the year might fancy a good cuppa after such a celebration.  The pick could be the standard Typhoo or maybe something a little more different, perhaps a good Irish or Scottish tea? Keep in mind the people over in the UK have entire store aisles devoted to tea, so the choices are endless!

~CD

Editor’s Note: I am including the English version of Auld Lang Syne here for those of us who never really knew exactly what is sung (italics for original Scot/modern English translation):

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of long ago?

CHORUS:
For days of long ago, my dear,
for days of long ago,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for days of long ago.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for days of long ago.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since days of long ago.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since days of long ago.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for days of long ago.

CHORUS
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