Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Hogmanay!

A day late I'm afraid, but my first attempt a couple of days ago was a complete disaster and yesterday, for some bizarre and unknown reason, I didn't really feel very creative!

Hogmanay, for those who don't know, is what the Scots called their New Year's Eve and is one of Scotland's greatest feast-days.

In Scottish folklore, the first-foot is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year's Day and a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.

Although it is acceptable in many places for the first-footer to be a resident of the house, they must not be in the house at the stroke of midnight in order to first-foot (thus going out of the house after midnight and then coming back in to the same house is not considered to be first-footing).

The first-foot is traditionally a tall, dark-haired male; a female or fair-haired male are in some places regarded as unlucky. The first-foot usually brings several gifts, including perhaps a coin, bread (or sometimes shortbread), salt, coal, or a drink (usually whisky, the 'water of life), which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth, and good cheer. In Scotland, first-footing has traditionally been more elaborate than in England, and involved subsequent entertainment.

This fellow here, Tam McMurdo, carries a lump of coal in the one hand and a wee bottle of single malt in the other.

Lang may yer lum reek (wi' ither fowk's coal! ). Long may your chimney smoke (with other people's coal)!

Happy Hogmanay!

1 comment:

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

Paul I've been looking at and admiring your work since you 'befriended' me on Facebook. I really appreciate your skill and the delightful worlds you conjure. Well done my friend, well done.