It's traditional in Scotland to go
"first-footing" on Hogmanay, a wonderful excuse to go
out visiting friends and partying all night, but certain things
are essential to make your New Year go with a swing.
Here's our pocket guide....
Hawf (half) Bottle
Your most important travelling companion. For it's traditional -
and polite - to offer just about everyone you see a "dram".
It's also traditional for it to be whisky. Though in these more
cosmopolitan times, it could be anything alcoholic.
Lump of Coal
In days of yore never mind the whisky, it was traditional for First
Footers to carry a lump of coal with them. This was lovingly placed
on the host's fire. If you're determined to do Hogmanay by the book
then take the coal by all means but be prepared for some grief when
you set it on top of the central heating radiators!
Not pieces of carbonised bread in case of hunger pangs on your New
Year yomp, but the good wishes you bestow on Hogmanay gatherings.
A simple and appropriate one is:
A guid New Year to ane an a' And mony may ye see
(A good New Year to one and all And many may you see)
The more jingoistic may offer:
Here's tae us. Wha's like us. Damn few, and they're a' deid!
(Here's to us. Who's like us. Not many, and they're all dead!)
Depending on the type of gathering you are attending you may hear
other "toasts". They could be:
Gaun yoursel', Big Man!
(You're a big chap, drinking a lot and are going to continue to
Gie it laldie!
An absolutely essential item. Not to make sure you get
home again - rather to make sure you don't! Have it all marked up
with the best parties and bashes so you don't miss a jig!
Not so much in case the whisky runs out. More in case your
party spirit runs dry. Then it makes a handy seat on the pavement
while you await that elusive taxi home. However, should you be actually
taking it to drink then make sure it's "good quality"
Jocko Brew, hand it over generously to your hosts and quickly find
something more palatable.
A Tall, Dark Handsome Stranger
The first person to cross the threshold at Hogmanay brings all the
luck, good or bad, for the year ahead. And, to follow in tradition
they have to fulfil certain criteria.
They have to be male, tall, dark and handsome. They cannot be doctors,
ministers or grave-diggers (!) - oh, and your first footer cannot
have eyebrows that meet in the middle! If you do find a first footer
that fits the bill (for remember, we Scots might be handsome but,
as a race, we're not renowned for our height) then hang on to them
- you could make a packet!
P.S. Being a First Footer is great because tradition dictates you
can claim a kiss from every lady in the place! XXXXX!
This isn't part of your First Foot Pack as such, more something
you'll need as dawn breaks the following morning with a thunderous
bang in your heid! We only have two suggestions - take to a darkened
room or keep partying.
Seriously, we'd be very interested in your hangover remedies and
we'll display the best so other can benefit from your hard-earned