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A Happy Scottish New Year!

by Stephen Andrews (単語・表現リスト by Shigeri Nishide)

Happy New Year! Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for everyone.

Although New Year’s Eve was a little quieter than usual, I was certainly looking forward to it. That’s because I originally come from Scotland where New Year celebrations are the most important of the year.


In Scotland, New Year's Eve – the 31st December – is called “Hogmanay”, the big night that marks the arrival of the year to come.

It’s Scotland's biggest winter holiday – far more important than in England and far bigger than Christmas in terms of holiday festivities*. Celebrations can last for three or four days, everyone gets very drunk and has a great time!

In Edinburgh, the New Year's party kicks off* with a dramatic torchlight procession* through the streets, followed by a Hogmanay street party and spectacular firework displays or a toe-tapping ceilidh – the traditional Scottish dance – and a musical concert in Princes Street Gardens.

First Footing

“First footing” is a popular tradition in Scotland. It’s when people visit friends or neighbours to “see the new year in*”. “First foot” simply means the first person to step across the threshold* of the house after midnight.

According to tradition, to ensure good luck for the house, the first foot should be a dark-haired male, and he should bring with him pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, a black bun and a wee* dram* of whisky.

The dark-haired male bit is believed to be a throwback* to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your doorstep with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year!

“Auld Lang Syne”

The song you’ll hear being song everywhere in Britain at midnight, is ‘Auld Lang Syne*’ written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. Since then it’s become popular across the world and, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, is one of the most frequently sung songs in English.

After the bells at midnight, join in a rousing* rendition* of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to start the New Year in real Scottish style.

In case you don’t know them, here are the lyrics, written in 18th Century Scottish:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne, For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

Have you made lots of New Year’s resolutions*? If so, I hope that you achieve them – and that you have a fantastic 2021!



festivities : 飲んだり、食べたり、踊ったりなど、特別な行事などをお祝いする時に行う事

kick off : Phrasal verb。(イベントなどが)始まる

procession :  セレモニーの一部として人や乗り物などが列になってゆっくり進むこと。お祭りの行列。

see the new year in: 新年を迎える

threshold :  玄関(の敷居)

wee :  とても小さい(インフォーマル)

dram :  お酒(特にウイスキー)の単位

throwback :  昔の事ににていること、昔あったこと

Auld Lang Syne: スコットランドの民謡で、年明けと同時に歌われる歌。タイトルはDays gone byという意味のスコットランド語。日本では、歌詞をかえて「蛍の光」で知られている

rousing :  興奮したりワクワク、ウキウキさせられる(歌やスピーチの説明として使われる形容詞)

rendition :  音楽や劇のパフォーマンス

New Year’s resolutions: 新年の抱負、目標やゴール


Hogmanay :  スコットランドの大晦日

ceilidh :  スコットランドやアイルランドの歌や踊り。/keɪli/と発音


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