Scot­tish tra­di­tions and tales

YTL Life - - Life Feature -

Cel­e­brate Hog­manay in style at The Glasshouse Ho­tel Ed­in­burgh.

In the late 18th cen­tury, it was Scot­tish poet Robert Burns, fa­mously known as the Bard of Ayr­shire, who im­mor­talised his poem Auld Lang Syne. These verses then evolved into a song, which be­came pop­u­lar dur­ing the Hog­manay endof-year cel­e­bra­tions. As tra­di­tions dic­tate, the cel­e­bra­tions in­volved ‘first-foot­ing’, or be­ing the first to visit a friend or rel­a­tive’s home af­ter mid­night, bear­ing gifts such as short­bread, whisky and black buns, with mer­ri­ment last­ing long into the night. It was thought that the first vis­i­tor to a home dur­ing that time would ide­ally be a dark-haired male, as a blond stranger was likely to be a Vik­ing in­vader.

The light­ing of bonfires with smok­ing sticks wrapped in an­i­mal hide has for cen­turies been sym­bolic of the oc­ca­sion; one deeply rooted in Scot­land’s cus­toms and way of life. Con­sid­ered a sym­bol of pu­rifi­ca­tion and in­stru­men­tal in ward­ing off neg­a­tive en­er­gies, these torches are known as Hog­manays.

In the same vein as the prac­tice of trick or treat dur­ing Hal­loween, groups of boys would tra­verse their High­land lo­cales, wear­ing sheep­skin, while re­peat­ing a rhyme in Gaelic. Res­i­dents in the homes they visit would then pile these youths with gifts of ban­nock, a de­li­cious va­ri­ety of fruit bun.

Dur­ing Hog­manay, the el­e­ment of fire has a cru­cial role to play. In towns such as Stone­haven, near Aberdeen, gi­ant flame balls are swung around on poles, sig­ni­fy­ing the en­er­gies of the sun tri­umph­ing over dark­ness. In Ed­in­burgh, the an­nual Torch­light Pro­ces­sion cre­ates a river of fire with blaz­ing torches.

The Glasshouse Ho­tel Ed­in­burgh cel­e­brates Hog­manay in style. The once-a-year event com­prises a cham­pagne re­cep­tion, a five­course din­ner with ex­quis­ite wine pair­ing at The Brasserie, a ceilidh at The Cal­ton Suite, lo­cated in a set­ting unique to the ho­tel – the city’s only two-acre rooftop gar­den. This is the per­fect van­tage point to en­joy a flute of cham­pagne, to catch the panoramic fire­works dis­play from Cal­ton Hill and to im­bibe the time­less Hog­manay spirit.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.the­glasshouse­ho­tel.co.uk

THE LIGHT­ING OF BONFIRES WITH SMOK­ING STICKS WRAPPED IN AN­I­MAL HIDE HAS FOR CEN­TURIES BEEN SYM­BOLIC OF THE OC­CA­SION.

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