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There are many old Hogmanay rituals and customs that are celebrated in Scotland to this day. The origins of many of them are unknown, but many are believed to bring good luck for the New Year.

  • First-footing – to ensure good luck, the first foot to arrive in your house on New Year’s Day should be a dark-haired male (believed to be a throwback to Viking days when blonde strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble). The first-footer should also bring symbolic gifts, such as coal, shortbread, salt, black buns or whisky, to ensure good fortune for the year ahead.
  • Clean the house – to begin the New Year with an unclean house is considered bad luck. Houses used to be cleared throughout to welcome the New Year into a tidy and neat house, including taking out the ashes from the fire in the days when coal fires were common.
  • Clear your debts – an old superstition states that you should try to clear all your debts before the stroke of midnight.
  • Sing Robert Burns‘ Auld Lang Syne after midnight – this custom is a staple of Hogmanay parties across the country (and many countries around the world too!). After the bells at midnight, join in a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne to start the New Year in real Scottish style.

And here in Estonia you can sing Auld Lang Syne even in Estonian as we have two translations of the very same song/poem. The closest to the meaning of the original is this one: Šoti joogilaul, but some people may know also that one:  Laul ammumöödunud ajast.

May the new year bring in all of just what you are wishing for!  Stay safe!