Can you think of any better way to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of a new year than by linking arms and singing “For Auld Lang Syne”, the world-famous mantra written by Scotland’s very own renowned poet and lyricist, Robert Burns?
No there isn’t any better way, and neither is there a better location to be in for the New Year than Scotland. So for a truly memorable New Year family holiday in Scotland you’d better get your skates on in order to book the best family holiday accommodation in Scotland to celebrate the New Year, better known as Hogmanay in Scotland.
Do you know why ‘first footing’ takes place or why coal is traditionally given to the householders by friendly callers just after midnight?
In ‘days of old’ the last day of December would be spent scrubbing, washing and cleaning the house as it was considered unlucky to welcome in the New Year to an unclean house. Once thoroughly cleaned, householders would dress their homes with holly, hazel and yew branches in order to protect the family and house from bad luck.
To ward off illness and bring good luck, pieces of mistletoe and rowan tree would be hung above doors and juniper would be burned (because of its pungent fragrance it was burned as an antiseptic). Doors would be left open, not only to allow fresh air to cleanse the house but to welcome the New Year in. Immediately after midnight, neighbours would call bringing good luck gifts to the householders such as coal, shortbread, whisky and a black bun (a fruit cake) – an act known as ‘first-footing’.
New Year celebrations in Scotland means four days of street parties, spectacular events, concerts and lively Scots ceilidhs (pronounced kaylees) – Scottish dances where couples perform in a ring to the sounds of an assortment of instruments.
During December and until around 4th January each year, the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are bustling with fairground rides and Christmas street markets, an ice rink each too. Although the Christmas street markets close before Christmas, the Highland Village Christmas Market at East Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh this year will remain open until 4th January. You’ll find food, crafts and jewellery here as well as some whacky Hogmanay hats.
Many other family attractions remain until early January… Princes Street Gardens is turned into a magical winter wonderland for children – there are carousel rides, a helter-skelter, a Children’s Corner, a bouncy giant snowball, and a huge Christmas wheel – from the top of which you’ll get far-reaching vistas over Edinburgh. The ice skating rink has the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, and hot food stalls sell mulled wine, mince pies and shortbread.
Doesn’t it all sound wonderful fun for a New Year family break in Scotland? But… as stated earlier, you need to get your skates on; not only to use on the ice rinks but to ensure you can find accommodation in Scotland over the New Year period, and to make sure you don’t miss the spectacle of thousands of torch carriers walking through the streets of Edinburgh to mark the opening of the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations. Not to be missed.