You think we Yanks do a New Year’s blow out, check out what the Scots do!  They’ve been celebrating Hogmanay this time of year since Mary Queen of Scots returned from Paris in 1561 (1).  The church forbid public celebrations of Christmas, as it was seen as an appropriated pagan tradition which discounted the sanctity of Christ’s birth.  Living in a temperate climate with latitudes similar to ours, the urge for a solstice-time celebration was primal, as the pagans well knew.  So what’s close?  The New Year!  And since one night is not enough the Scots were set to go this year from Wednesday till tomorrow.  What happens?  General carousing.  Public festivals hearken back to Viking times.  Natives do a lot of visiting.  And drinking.  The first person to step into your house on the1st is given special status.  Drunken Scotsmen in kilts toss fireballs into the bay.  Fire is a big part of the celebration.  Dark times.  Gotta encourage the light.

All that was to have been ours.  Shortly after reading about this celebration last year, we booked passage and a cottage on the water in Edinburgh.  A month or so ago we checked out regulations about you know what.  Unvaxxed, we thought we were screwed.  Not so, we were welcome but would have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.  With only 9 days booked, we saw problems.  Fortunately, the nice lady at the cottage company pushed our booking to same time next year, so we may still get to do this, God willing. We just learned today that the Scots were cancelling the whole thing this year because COVID. Damned shame. Where are those drunken Scots in kilts going to throw their burning trees? I’m sure the drinking will continue.

Meanwhile, how do you celebrate Hogmanay at home?  We’re confining our fire celebration to the fireplace, but there’s plenty of that.  And there’s the food.  It’s been said that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare (2).  But last year, I learned how to make a few choice snacks.  We haven’t sought a sheep’s stomach to fill with oatmeal, etc., but neeps’n’tatties and kirlie are pretty tasty.  This year I’m taking on meat and ale pie, daring to alter the on-line recipe by substituting lamb for beef.  As I write this, it’s still cooking and hasn’t been finished with a crust over each mini-serving.  I expect it will be fabulous.  We’ll finish it up right before the bowl game starts.  We hope our Wolverines throw a fireball at the Bulldogs and continue their relentless pissed off pursuit of victory.  We’ve got the champagne chilling.  Go Blue!  Brandon too!

Oh, if you want to try that meat pie:


1.         Hogmanay & New Year in Scotland.  https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/events/christmas-winter-festivals/hogmanay/

2.         Mike Myers.  Haggis.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CloGus131G0

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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