31 Dec 2009
FOR AULD LANG SYNE, MY DEAR.
AULD LANG SYNE, translated from the Scottish to the English as "Old Long Since".
A beautiful song isn't it? Credited to the Scottish poet Robbie Burns it is traditionally sung on New Years Eve at the stroke of Midnight when standing in a circle, arms crossed, we hold the hands of the people on either side, singing and moving our hands up and down in time with the music before kissing/shaking hands and wishing each other a Happy New Year at which point I'll generally burst into tears.
Why the tears you ask? Well, always an emotional time of year, saying good-bye to the old and bringing in the new, it is doubly so for me as New Years Eve was also my Grandad's birthday - a night as children we always spent with him and my Nana when we were allowed to stay up way, way past our bedtime to sing Auld Lang Syn and greet the New Year.
Also a tradition in many households (though it seems to be a tradition that is slowly dying) is the FIRST FOOT who is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Years Day and is seen as a bringer of good luck for the coming year.
Typically a tall, dark, handsome man, the First Foot would enter the home bringing several 'gifts' - generally a coin (symbolising wealth), a drink (usually whisky) and cake (both symbolising a year of plentiful) and a lump of coal (symbolising warmth) though this varies from region to region.
As a child I can remember my father being sent out with a coin, whisky, cake and a lump of coal just before midnight to knock on my Grandparent's door seconds later. Really quite strange as looking down the street you could see the same scene being repeated door after door. Aah such happy memories.
Today of course, many still celebrate, even if it is in a slightly different way, with fireworks seeming to be more and more common every year - you'd have thought we would have had enough in November with the 'celebration' of GUY FAWKES but it seems you can't have too many.
So how will you be celebrating tonight? Husband dearest and I shall be celebrating with friends for the first time in many years as before this we'd always had Niece #1 and Nephew staying with us and then, for the last few years, one or the other of us has been recovering from surgery.
Whatever your plans, may I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year full of love and laughter.
And just in case you were having some difficulties with the lyrics on the video of Auld Lang Syn, here is another site where the versions Old and Modern are given - just click HERE. Oh and please come back tomorrow for the Pen And Paper version of The New Years Honours List.