|December 30, 2012|
Lang may yer lum reek is Scottish slang and translates to Long may your chimney smoke. It’s an old tradition in Scotland to take a piece of coal with you when visiting friends and family on New Year’s Eve. The coal is placed on the fire to keep it burning and to wish the hosts long life and prosperity. In Scotland, New Year is a more important holiday than Christmas and it’s called Hogmanay. In fact, it’s so important that both the 1st and 2nd of January are Public Holidays. It’s not that we don’t celebrate Christmas, of course we do, it’s just that New Year’s Eve is traditionally the time for extended family and friends to be together, and celebrate through the night until the morning of New Year’s Day.
Our family was no different, and on New Year’s Eve around one hundred family members and friends would arrive at my Grandmother’s, where the adult’s would gather at one end of the house to sing, eat and drink, and the children would be put at the other end to play cards, get bored, then get into trouble and finally fall asleep. Singing was the main event and the highlight of the evening would always be Uncle Bill singing I’ll take you home again Kathleen. Before he got started, Aunt Mary and Aunt Barbara would run around shouting at all of us kids to be quiet or else, and while he sang, my Grandmother would cry quietly surrounded by her family.
Another Hogmanay tradition made popular by Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century is shortbread, and although you can find it everywhere now, it used to be expensive and usually only served on special occasions. This, together with a large selection of single malt Scotch Whisky will be found in every Scottish home this Hogmanay. There’s nothing like a wee dram to celebrate the new year after you’ve sung Auld Lang Syne and kissed and hugged anyone within walking distance..:)
GBB says: Thank you for following us around the world in 2012. All of us at Global Black Book wish you and your family the very best for a healthy and prosperous New Year.