The table is set, the shortbread is baked, the whisky is poured, and your fellow kinsmen in Season X: Highlanders are ready to celebrate the Scottish New Year—Hogmanay!
From December 21 to January 2, Scots celebrate the New Year with everything from giving out coal, singing the signature song of Hogmanay, and tucking into a special steak pie!
So you can better celebrate Hogmanay (Highlanders style), we’re offering up a New Year’s helping of 50% Boosted Unit and Hero XP!
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Hogmanay has been a traditional Scottish celebration for hundreds if not thousands of years. Derived from Norse and Gaelic observances of the Winter Solstice, many historians believe that the invading Vikings brought the tradition to Scotland around the 8-9th centuries.
The word ‘Hogmanay’ itself is believed to come from the French word ‘hoginane’ (meaning ‘gala day’), and is thought to be a result of Mary Queen of Scots’ return to Scotland from France (1561).
Hogmanay was also celebrated in various parts of England, and went by many monikers, such as ‘Hagmena’, ‘Hogmina’, and ‘Hagman-heigh’.
Coal, Cake, and Other Customs
Beginning on December 31, Hogmanay customs and celebrations vary across the country (and the world). The most common custom is ‘first-footing’—starting at midnight, the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbours house sets the luck for the rest of the year, and often includes bringing gifts (usually food and drink such as shortbread and whisky). Traditionally, the first-footer will also bring a lump of coal to signify keeping the house warm during the winter months. The first-foot should also be a tall, dark-haired man—fair-haired fellows would suggest a Viking invasion!
A typical greeting from a first-footer would be: “Good sir, I bring you salt to salt your meat, and I bring you coal to keep your fire lit. From me and mine, to you an yours Happy New year, and lang may your lum reak!”
As the clock strikes midnight bringing all party-goers into the new year, singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (based on the poem by Robert Burns) in a circle of linked arms is customary, because who doesn’t like a good singsong?
Honour Hogmanay Today
If you’d like to honour the clans of the Highlands in Conqueror’s Blade and celebrate Hogmanay yourself, here are a few ideas.
Unfortunately, the all-night celebrations that usually take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen have been cancelled for the past couple of years, so you won’t be able to party with the Scottish lads and lassies in the usual fashion with parades, music, and fireworks—but there’s plenty you can do at home!
Stick Auld Lang Syne on the stereo, cook the special New Year’s Day special dinner of steak pie, and be the first to visit your loved ones at stroke of midnight.
Haud Hogmanay to all!