Hogmanay is the Scottish alternative to New Year’s Eve; it’s the biggest night of the year in Edinburgh, and has become a world famous street party. We’ll be enjoying the usual fireworks display and torchlight procession in town, which will be attended by thousands of locals and visitors, and continues the ancient pagan winter solstice ceremonies that were started many hundreds of years ago. These days the celebrations mostly continue in bars, concert halls and nightclubs, but lest we forget the old traditions we’ve taken a look at the history of Hogmanay. The traditional song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was rearranged by Robert Burns, the beloved eighteenth-century Scottish poet who chose to write his verse in the old Scots language. It quickly became tradition in Scotland, as the bells chimed midnight, to link crossed arms in a circle with all in the room and sing this song, which roughly translates as ‘long, long ago’ or ‘for old time’s sake’. This tradition quickly spread throughout the world, and the poem has been translated into many languages. The custom of ‘first-footing’ sets the luck of the household for the year ahead. Once midnight has struck the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour will come bearing gifts that symbolise different sorts of good fortune, such as coal, salt, shortbread, black buns and whisky. A dark-haired male was considered the most lucky. Thousands of patriotic Scots will don a kilt to see in the New Year in the traditional way. It is the time to celebrate new beginnings with old friends and to welcome strangers, too. So with that thought, we wish you all ‘a Guid New Year’!