Travel to Scotland for New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Go Hog-Manay Wild!

Ediburgh Calton Hill

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for December 31st and synonymous with New Year’s Eve revelry. If only the fun stopped there. Partying begins on the last day of the year and usually continues through January 2nd – which thankfully is a Scottish bank holiday (bottoms up!)

Scotland’s favorite son, Robert Burns, penned the post-kiss ballad Auld Lang Syne. The song is now sung in many countries around the world after the clock strikes midnight, and many only get through, “Should old acquaintance be forgot” then slur the rest. In Scotland, everyone knows the words, and understands its meaning.

The most traditional Hogmanay custom involves “first footing,” which begins right after midnight. Known in Gaelic as qualtagh, this is the first person to cross the threshold of a home on New Year’s Day. Bearing gifts such as coal or whiskey (probably preferred over a lump of anthracite), the “first foot” is a bringer of good fortune for the coming year.

Come to this land of kilts and castles and “take a cup o’ kindness yet.” Raise your glass and toast to new friends, fun travels and make a wish for the upcoming year.

Starting the year off in Scotland? Talk about putting your best “first foot” forward.

Rail Europe Scottish Products:  BritRail Scottish Freedom Pass, BritRail Central Scotland Pass

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