The very loose translation of “auld lang syne” is time gone by. More specifically, it is Scots language, not to be confused with Gaelic, from the lowlands of Scotland, and means, “old long since.” In 1788, Robert Burns penned the ancient poem which until then had only existed as an unwritten poem amongst the older folks.
Between 1560 and the 1950’s, Christmas was banned in Scotland. This likely contributed at least a little bit to the strong tradition of celebrating the new year, or Hogmanay as the major holiday of the end of the year.
Hogmanay is the last day of the calendar year and celebrates the coming of the new year. People still share gifts and visit one another’s homes for celebrations and general good cheer.
2017 was a difficult year. Among the general experiences which life often offers, my family lost some special relatives and one of our best friends. New Years Eve was our late best friend’s birthday (and wedding anniversary) and it was tough not getting to wish her well on her special day. My husband was recovering from an illness and we stayed inside in the warmth of our home with our children for an intentionally quiet evening. It gave me the opportunity to ponder the wonderful relationships we have been blessed with in our lives and to cherish the memories of times gone by. We definitely rose a glass to the joyful memories of times long since.
My favorite thing about Hogmanay and New Years Eve is a tradition celebrated not only in Scotland but also other parts of the world called First Footing. It is believed that the first guest to step foot into your home in the new year will become an indication of the general fortune your family and home will experience throughout the new year. For my family, that was my sister, and she came with cookies! If that’s any indication of how our year will play out (fun times with best family and friends, special recipes, and treats), then I have no complaints here. She didn’t even know that she was our first foot until I told her later on.
Some may argue that this is superstition, but I believe that we get out of life what we put into it. If we invest in spreading positive energy, hopefully positivity will also come back to us. This is indeed a tradition that our family is going to follow from now on. Hopefully it can gain popularity here in the rest of United States soon.
We are already two weeks into the new year. What are some of your reflections from last year and this new year?