Hogmanay: Auld Lang Syne

It’s the song we all know, but don’t know!  Here’s a little history and resources for participating in the singing of Auld Lang Syne.  We’ll have lyric sheets available!

from “Hugh Douglas’ The Hogmanay Companion:

“Auld Lang Syne is sung as an ending to every Scottish event from a Burns Supper to a St Andrew’s Night ceilidh, with the whole company linking hands in a circle at the appropriate moment.  Auld Land Syne simply means A Long Time Ago, but Scots find it a very special reminder of their roots, their homeland and their traditions.  Above all, Auld Lang Syne is a song of long remembered friendship and kinship.

We sing Robert Burns’ version of Auld Lang Syne, but the song goes back beyond his time.  Burns took an old song and infused it with his own genius, linking remembrance of times past with hope for the future.  The whole world recognizes this, and has adopted it as a universal song of parting.

When the time comes for Auld Lang Syne, everyone should gather in a circle, but don’t link hands until the last verse.  At the words ‘And there’s a hand my trust fiere. And gie’s a hand o’thine’, all should cross arms and link hands with their neighbours.  For the final chorus the tempo is speeded up and the singers move toward the centre of the room and out again, still holding hands, but keeping time to the quickening pace of the song.  The song and the party finish with a glorious flourish, in which the words sung are often changed to “We’ll meet again some ither night for auld lang syne.’  That’s not what Robert Burns wrote, but it’s permissible.

Please, English revellers, try hard to sing ‘auld lang syne’ with an ‘s’ sound as in ‘signpost’, and not ‘auld lang zyne’ as in ‘resign’.  And Scots, don’t sing ‘for the sake of auld lang syne’, Burns’ words are ‘for auld lang syne’.”

Here is a video of a large Hogmanay event, where the attendees participate in singing Auld Lang Syne, demonstrating the arm-linking custom at the last verse (0:40).

 

Here is Dougie MacLean singing as Burns wrote it, with captions explaining the lyrics, and their modern translations:

The lyric sheet, as we’ll sing it at Hogmanay, and remember, we cross arms and link hands at “And there’s a hand”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
–For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
–We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup, and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
–For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
–We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the braes, and pulled the gowans fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.
–For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
–We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared, since auld lang syne.
–For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
–We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend, and give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.
–For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
–We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

MORE HOGMANAY POSTS
History HERE.
Music HERE.
Customs HERE.
Food HERE.
Auld Lang Syne HERE.
Event Invitation HERE.

Hogmanay: Customs

Hogmanay has plenty of interesting traditions and superstitions, many of which revolve around “luck”, some of which are remnants of the folk magic of earlier times.

snippets from “Hugh Douglas’ The Hogmanay Companion:

“First-Footing
At the heart of Hogmanay is the first-footing ceremony. The first person to cross the threshold brings all the luck, good or ill, for the year ahead, so he has to fulfil the strict criteria laid down by tradition.

The First-Foot has to be male, tall, dark haired, but not a doctor, minister or grave-digger. Thieves and fey folk are also shunned. He must be healthy and without deformity or handicap, although an accidental disability is acceptable. A limp, deformed foot, blindness or deafness are all reckoned to bring ill luck, as are also flat feet or eyebrows which meet in the middle.
Physical perfection is not sufficient: the first-foot should be honest, generous, good tempered and liked by all. And, he must not carry a knife or other sharp tool. No wonder the first-foot is awaited with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The wrong first-foot across the doorstep could spoil everything and be blamed for anything that goes wrong during the succeeding twelve months. To avoid this danger, families often arrange for their house to have a first-footer who meets all the conditions that custom demands.

The most important rule for the first-footer is that he should not arrive empty handed. There are no set rules about what he should bring, other than a bottle from which to pour a drink for his host. A piece of coal or peat and cake are traditional, or even a sheaf of corn in country districts.

Without a word, the first-footer walks to the fire and places the coal on it, then pours a drink from his bottle and hands it to the host. ‘A guid new year to ane and a’,’ is the most common toast as the head of the house drains the glass. Then the host pours a dram for the first-foot and the fun can begin. The first-foot can claim a kiss from every woman in the house, and more toasts and songs follow. By this time more revelers will have arrived, and all will be given drinks and food – the traditional shortbread, cake, and Black Bun.

Het Pint
The great Hogmanay drink in the old days was Het Pint, a brew of ale mulled with nutmeg and whiskey. This was carried, steaming hot, in a copper kettle and poured into cups which were offered to everybody the first-footer met on his travels.

Guising
Menfolk took care of provision of the drink, while women and children were responsible for food. The poor, who could not afford a feast of their own, had a way of ensuring that they would have plenty. On Hogmanay, young people went guising from door to door, dressed up often in clothes of the opposite sex and wearing a large apron folded to form a sack in which to collect as they went round the houses, chanting the “Rise up guid wife” rhyme.

Every household gave something – oatcakes, Black Bun, shortbread or drinks.

As well as blackening faces and wearing women’s clothes, the guisers used straw to make helmets and ropes which they decorated with ribbons. In this disguise they went round the doors, accompanied by a fiddler, dancing and performing an ancient play and collecting a reward of food or money.

The guisers’ play was called The Goloshan, a form of the Christmas mummers’ play, which originated as a medieval court masque. The Goloshan, said to be derived from Galgacus, the ancient Caledonian leader who fought against the Romans, was originally performed by a group of men dressed in white and called the White Boys of Yule, and one in black representing Beelzebub. Each district had it’s own version of the play, which survives in various parts, from Shetland to Galloway, into quite recent times. Although it was often laced with snatches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Home’s Douglas and Allan Ramsay’s Gentle Shepherd, The Goloshan became a kind of saints’ play in keeping with the season, starting with the Rise up gudewife” rhyme, then turning into a confrontation between Galgacus and the King of Macedon. There was a splendid swordfight in which the Caledonian chief was slain and then brought back to life, so all ended well. At the end, a bag is passed round and money collected.

The guisers, often accompanied by a fiddler and a singer, were looked forward to eagerly by those they visited, people who knew nothing but drudgery and poverty throughout the rest of the year.

Mummers
Further south, guising took the form of mumming. On New Year’s Day it was the custom throughout the northern counties to dress up in strange clothes – often women’s dress – or, if they could lay hands on no suitable disguise, to put their own clothes on inside out or back to front. With faces blackened, they went round the houses carrying brooms, dusters and dustpans, knocking at every door. As each door was opened, they rushed into the house and ran round and round, miming cleaning actions and humming continuously through closed lips. Having ‘swept away’ the old year to make way for the new, they were rewarded with money and moved on to the next house.

Preparing the house
In the old days, it was considered bad luck for the house to be unclean or untidy at midnight on Hogmanay.  As a result, housewives spent days scrubbing and polishing until the place shone and in the dying minutes of the year, they put out the last of the dirt and ashes from the fire.  The byre, also, was cleansed and purified with juniper fumes.

walls, floors and doorposts were sprinkled with water specially brought from the well, or even with urine, and dried juniper was burned to cleanse the interior of the house.  Rowan was placed above the door for luck, holly to keep the fairies out, mistletoe to prevent illness and hazel and yew because of their magic powers to protect all who resided in the house.  After the burning of the juniper, doors were opened to allow fresh air to drive out the fumes and only then was the house considered ready for the New Year.

After the stroke of midnight, nothing could be taken from the house until something had been brought in.  Old-fashioned folk would not give or lend anything on the first day of the year, not from miserliness, but because they considered they would be handing away their good luck.  Even the sweepings from the floor were not thrown out on New Year’s Day.

Fire and Water Rituals
As might be expected in a festival whose origins lay in propitiating the sun god, those elements essential to life – fire and water – played an important part in the New Year rites.  Bonfires were lit in many places and elaborate water rites were observed, principally the fetching of the first water on New Year’s morning, which was known as ‘the Creaming of the Well’.  The first person to draw water was lucky, so there was always competition to be there ahead of the rest of the village that day.

Fire was important, so it was considered unlucky to give anyone so much as a light to take ashes out of the house on new Year’s Day.  The fireplace told much.  if peat or live coal rolled away, someone would depart during the year; if the fire burned brightly prosperity would follow, but if it just smouldered a year of adversity lay ahead.  On New Year’s morning, the fire was raked and the ashes examined carefully for omens of death and ill fortune.

MORE HOGMANAY POSTS
History HERE.
Music HERE.
Customs HERE.
Food HERE.
Auld Lang Syne HERE.
Event Invitation HERE.

Hogmanay: History

There’s argument over the origin of the word Hogmanay, and, even what it “means”, but regardless of it’s source, Hogmanay is a very Scottish way of celebrating the New Year.

The turning of the year is celebrated everywhere – the return of the sun is indeed cause for celebration, especially where the winters are cold. Typically, these mid-winter or solstice celebrations include feasting, drinking, sacrifices, light, fire, and special rites to bring good fortune. The Romans had Saturnalia, and the Vikings had Yule – and both were visitors to ancient Scotland. Over hundreds of years, as religion and politics changed, the winter festival adapted, bringing much of the old ways into new and combined celebrations.

Hugh Douglas writes in his book, The Hogmanay Companion:

“By then (the Middle Ages) the Yule festival had developed into the Twelve Days of Christmas, which became known in Scotland as the Daft days, a direct translation of the French Fête des Fous. Society, from richest to poorest, celebrated the Daft Days. The royal court gave a lead; a Lord or Abbot of Misrule was appointed to organise the feasting and entertainment during the Daft Days, which included a great feast washed down with hot spiced wine served from a ‘tappit hen’, a large bowl with a spigot. Troupes of guisers (costumed performers) entertained with plays, mumming, games, card playing and dancing.

As you would expect, the Church was at the centre of the Christmas festival, but not just as a place where the masses were said to mark Christ’s birth. Inside churches, even at the altar rail, much of the licentiousness of the old Saturnalia continued to be enacted. Processions and mock masses, led by the Abbot of Narent or Misrule, were little short of sacrilege; priests and monks stood back and allowed themselves and their services to be parodied and mocked.
People dressed up as donkeys and dragons cavorted and danced through the church, chasing a boy disguised as Sabina, the daughter of the King of Egypt. It was a huge unseemly melee in which townsmen were dressed as bears, wolves and other wild animals. Robin Hood and Little John led outlaw bands, and the whole everyday world was turned upside down with men disguised as women and women as men; old men pretended to be children while the young walked on mock crutches and acted aged. At the very least, people turned their coats inside out and blackened their faces to join the fun.

Throughout this time, churches were turned into vast, throbbing playgrounds, where anyone was free to make fun of the Church and temporal rulers, and naturally the horseplay became boisterous and vulgar. Profane songs were sun and unholy masses were said, but no one stopped it. This impiety was not confined to Scotland, but went on in other parts of Europe as well.

The fun ended with Twelfth Night, which was called Uphalieday in Scotland, a day which was always a very special festival at the royal court, with guisers, dancing, plays and a night of endless revelry and merriment – all the enjoyments of Yule brought together in one great night of daftness to round off the Daft Days.
To choose a ‘king and queen’ to preside over the Uphalieday festivities, a rich cake was baked – the ancestor of our traditional Black Bun – and a bean and a pea were concealed in it. The man who discovered the bean, and the woman who discovered the pea, were declared King and Queen of the Bean for the evening.

With the coming of the Reformation, Scotland lost both its Christmas and Uphalieday carnivals. Only Black Bun survives as a reminder of the cake which held the secret of who would rule on the last night of the twelve Daft Days.”

“In the sixteenth century, the Reformation overturned more than the nation’s religious beliefs. It brought a sterner, narrower regimen for living, in which the keeping of christmas in the old idolatrous way had no place. Records of the momentous century and a half between 1520 and 1680 trace the change.

  • 1528 In Aberdeen, Reformers John and Robert Arthur are summoned to appear in the Church of St Nicholas ‘with bare feet and wax candles in their hands, and publicly to beg the pardon of the Provost and Magistrates for having troubled the Lords of Bon Accord by preventing dancing.’
  • 1540 In Linlithgow, on the Feast of Epiphany, Sir David Lindsay’s play Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis, a fierce attack on the Church, is performed before the King & Queen.
  • 1547 At Borthwick Castle the representative of the Primate of St Andrews arrives with letters of excommunication against the Lord or Abbot of Misrule, only to find the people celebrating with an unseemly procession, led by the Abbot of Unreason. The Primate’s official is beated, ducked in the mill dam, and made to eat the letter of excommunication after it had been soaked in wine.
  • 1555 Parliament passes an Act banning the Abbot of Unreason. Punishment for ‘Provost, Bailies, Counsell and Community’ who disobey are to ‘lose their freedom for a space of five years.’
  • 1574 Aberdeen Kirk (church) Session summons people before it for ‘playing, dancing and singing filthy carols on Yule Day.’
    1582 In Glasgow, five people are charged with ‘observing the day called Yule’.
  • 1597 A St Andrews baker is reported for ‘keeping Zwil (Yule) in his house, the same being full of lichtis (light) and mony in cumpany, hymself, cryit with a lowd voice, superstitiously Zwill! Zwill! Zwill!’
  • 1598 Elgin Kirk Session, 30 December: ‘George Kay accusit of dansing and guysing in the night on Monday last. He confesses he had his sister’s coat upon him and the rest that were with him had claythis dammaskit (costume) about thame and thair faces blaikit (blackened), and they had a lad play upon banis and bells with them. Arche Hay had a faise about his loynes and kerche about his face. Ordained to make repentance two Sundays bairfut and bairleggit.’
    1605 Aberdeen revelers are brought before the Kirk Session for going through the city ‘maskit and dancing.’
  • 1630 Elgin Kirk Session: …‘William Sutherland coffessit himselff to have been gyseing in womenis habits about the Yule tyme. To pay 40s. Alexander Innes, litster, confessit gyseing with a false beard at Yule tyme. Ordant to pay 20s.’
  • 1638 General Assembly calls for abolition of Yule holiday.
  • 1642 As Yule falls on a Sunday, Aberdeen ministers preach against ‘all merriness, play and pastime.” On Monday, the bellringer goes through the town ordering shops to open and men to go to work. Students seize the bell and the townsfolk celebrate as usual.”
  • 1649 General Assembly decides that since the people cannot hold Christmas without retaining Yule practice, both should be abolished.
  • 1651 Cromwell, who is occupying Edinburgh, bans Christmas, but still people celebrate until their lanterns turn the capital’s night into day.
  • 1680 Edinburgh students indulge in revels on Christmas Day and end up burning an effigy.”

Christmas was showing a remarkable resilience, but slowly, it had turned from a religious to a secular festival.

In spite of the Kirk’s witch-hunting and demands for barefoot penance the Christmas festival did not die, it simply went underground. Instead of being celebrated joyfully, noisily, and communally in public, it became centred on the home, limited to close and trusted family and friends. In time, in order to placate the Kirk, it was moved to the latter end of the Daft Days, which happened to coincide with the start of the new Year.

By the end of the 17th century, the Scottish mid-winter festival emerged into the open again with a new name: Hogmanay, and marking the start of the new year – a reason with which neither Kirk or strait-laced Puritan could quarrel. underneath, it remained the same old celebration with all the rites and trappings of the ancient mid-winter junket.

MORE HOGMANAY POSTS
History HERE.
Music HERE.
Customs HERE.
Food HERE.
Auld Lang Syne HERE.
Event Invitation HERE.

Hogmanay: Music

A real traditional Hogmanay would have music played right in the house, so if you play any instruments, please bring them.  Please use this page to get inspired to sing and play.

It’s been a wonderful journey, to discover traditional Scottish music, and to hand-pick a playlist of recorded music, that will last all night.  I’ve been using Google Music to compile it, and, I think you can listen to Google Music without having to subscribe to it, although, I believe you do need to log in to a google account.
You can find my Google Music “Hogmanay – Trad-Inspired” playlist HERE.

In case you can’t use Google Music, I also put together a youtube playlist, that has these songs on it, and a few other fun ones that I like too.
You can find my YouTube “Hogmanay Warm Up” playlist HERE.

There are many traditional and popular Scottish songs that you might want to familiarize yourself with:

  • Auld Lang Syne
  • The Parting Glass (a song of parting that pre-dates the popularity of Auld Lang Syne)
  • Flower of Scotland (Scotland’s national anthem)
  • Scots Wha Hae (an historic patriotic song)
  • The Skye Boat Song (re: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape to Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden)
  • Will Ye No Come Back Again (re: Bonnie Prince Charlie & the aftermath of Culloden)
  • Loch Lomond (you take the high road and I’ll take the low)
  • Scotland the Brave (that one bagpipe tune we’re all familiar with)

Further Inquiry
I have been greatly enjoying some podcasts that include a wide variety of Scottish and Celtic music.  Here are some links:

MORE HOGMANAY POSTS
History HERE.
Music HERE.
Customs HERE.
Food HERE.
Auld Lang Syne HERE.
Event Invitation HERE.

Hogmanay: Food, Drink, and Recipes

What Shall We Eat?
We are setting out a Feast Table, and there will be plenty of delicious treats for all!  We have plans for lots of traditional Scottish food & drink (and modified versions for those who are vegans and/or celiac, and non-alcoholic.) 

Here are some of the sources I pulled from when deciding on the Buffet menu:

For general Scottish recipes & inspiration

Traditional Foods (not safe for vegans/celiacs)

  • Mains (Fowl): Roast Goose
  • Mains (Lamb): Haggis
  • Snacks: Scotch Pie
  • Snacks (Pork, Egg): Scotch Eggs
  • Soup (Lamb): Scotch Broth
  • Soup (Fowl): Cock A Leekie
  • Soup (Fish): Cullen Skink

Traditional Foods (safe or adapted for vegan/celiacs)

Breads & Sweets

Alcoholic Drinks

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

MORE HOGMANAY POSTS
History HERE.
Music HERE.
Customs HERE.
Food HERE.
Auld Lang Syne HERE.
Event Invitation HERE.

YOU!

PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT ASSIGNMENT #10 – YOU!

Frank says the best part of his life is having all of you in it. All the things he loves are better when there’s friends to share them with.
So take a selfie!
Thank you for participating in this fun litle photo project: You’ve helped make Frank’s birthday extra special 🙂

There’s no restrictions for how you present your photo involving YOU, so go nuts! Incorporate YOU into your image however you like.

from Greg!

from Greg!

from Trouble!

from Trouble!

10_pandy

“I love this photo of me in Frankie’s sunglasses.   I believed I used his camera took some pictures of you both and I spot myself in the reflection. Such a fun happy moment.” from Pandora!

from Abel!

from Abel!

from Megan!

from Megan!

from Edd!

from Edd!

from Bhyrn! (and the wayback machine, takin' you to 1999!)

from Bhyrn! (and the wayback machine, takin’ you to 1999!)

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from Rahma!

from Rahma!

from Ken!

from Ken!

from Karen!

from Karen!

from Stephen & Siobhan!

from Siobhan & Stephen!

from Sara!

from Sara!

BURLESQUE!

PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT ASSIGNMENT #9 – BURLESQUE!

As well as photgraphing burlesque performances, Frank is sometimes part of them!
aka Frankie Panky, he was a graduate of the first ever Becoming Boylesque class with the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society, and even performed at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival!
Pasties & g-strings, feathers & fans, gowns & gloves…anything, or everything, goes!

There’s no restrictions for how you present your photo involving BURLESQUE, so go nuts! Incorporate BURLESQUE into your image however you like.

Submit your photo to claire@braveandreal.com, and indicate if I have your permission to display it online and/or at our home, and if/how you would like to be credited.

from Megan!

from Megan!

from Hannah!

from Hannah!

from Ken!

from Ken!

from Greg!

from Greg!

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from SpoOk & Chevy!

from Abel!

from Abel!

from jenn!

from jenn!

from jenn!

from jenn!

from jenn!

from jenn!