Word of the Day

Hogmanay

Definition

in Scotland, the evening of 31st December and the celebrations that happen at that time

Origin and usage

The word Hogmanay is believed to come from the French word ‘hoguinané’ meaning ‘a gift given at New Year’ or perhaps ‘New Year’s Eve’. In English, the word Hogmanay was first recorded in 1604 as ‘hagmonay’.



Examples

Hogmanay is a traditional Scottish festival celebrating the new year.
Edinburgh traditionally holds the nation’s largest and most famous Hogmanay celebration, but there are smaller festivals, concerts, street fairs and other entertainments held all over Scotland to commemorate the beginning of the New Year.

There are also a number of ancient, unusual traditions associated with Hogmanay that some people continue to observe.

‘Redding the house’ refers to the practice of deep cleaning to ready one’s home for the New Year. After the whole house is cleaned, a member of the family may go from room to room with a smoking branch of juniper to help rid the house of bad luck and sickness.

‘First footing’ is the habit of visiting friends and neighbours just after the stroke of midnight, bringing traditional gifts like fruit cake or shortbread. The first person to enter the house — the first foot — is thought to bring the family luck for the whole year.

Auld Lang Syne is a traditional Scottish song that is sung all over the world at New Year. At Edinburgh’s huge Hogmanay celebration, revellers join hands at midnight and sing together in what’s thought to be the world’s biggest rendition of the song.

Quotations

“Edinburgh’s main Hogmanay celebrations will be transformed by parkour performers, wall runners, trapeze artists, fire throwers and giant puppets.”
(Edinburgh News. 19 December 2017: ‘Aerial performers and floating platform set to wow Hogmanay revellers’)

Synonyms

New Year’s Eve
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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