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.

9 comments:

Mary said...

That was lovely. Thank you so much for sharing your traditions. I think as one grows older this date has more profound meaning. My husband and I will ring in the New Year quietly at home this year (I have a bad cold). I hope the coming year is one with good health, good books, and contentment.

Tina said...

Lovely as always Petty and I certainly will be back! Happy New Year to you and yours!

Alyce said...

Happy New Year! I haven't heard of the First Foot tradition, but it sounds very nice. I think I would adapt it so that my husband was bringing in coins and chocolate, because you can never have too much chocolate. :)

We're planning a quiet evening, which is the norm for us. We usually just watch a movie together on New Year's Eve, and the kids go to bed at the normal time because they are still to young to stay up that late.

Alexia561 said...

Planning another quiet New Year, where I'll probably read and then watch the ball drop in NY Time's Square at midnight.

The only real tradition we have is that my mother calls me at midnight and we wish each other Happy New Year. She's called me every year since I've left home, so I look forward to it as we live so far apart.

Sorry you weren't able to access my blog earlier, but I did get your message. Thank you, and Happy New Year to you and yours! :)

Vivienne said...

It's a shame some of the traditions are getting lost over the years, we always gave silver coins and coal too, haven't heard about the drink and cake one! (Though wish I had...)
Tonight, I'll be throwing my husband out with only a minute to spare... he complains "It's too cold to be out here!" if I make him go out any earlier.

Have a good one! x

susan s. said...

Ah, Petty, how lovely! And I love reading your memories of the Days of Auld Lang Syne. Raise a glass!. May your and TheMe's New Year be healthy and happy. Back tomorrow to read your list!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the good wishes you left on my blog earlier. I wish the same for you and your husband.... a very happy new year in 2010!!!

We always celebrate New Year's Eve with a couple we known for years. Games, good food and lots of fun!

chitra said...

Felt nice reading the traditions you follow. We too have a similar tradition of giving the coin on our New year day called as Vishu which falls some times in mid April, a slight difference the head of the family is the one who normally hands out coins to all and as one wakes up they open their eyes only in front of the family deity which would be decorated with flowers, fruits and and eats.

Kissed by an Angel said...

Thank you for the great info!! Like you I hate Auld Lang Syn - always makes me cry too!!! We lost our 'First Footer' when my dear Dad passed away!! He always made sure he was the first over our doorstep each year carrying the required gifts!!! He was six feet tall and had black hair - he was handsome too!!
Lovely memories!!! Thank you for reminding me!!
xxxx