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Most Scots still celebrate New Year’s Day with a special dinner, usually steak pie…then there is Hogamanay.

Hogamanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner.

The most widespread Hogamanay custom starts right after midnight; first-footing. The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year and involves being the first person to cross the threshold of friends and/or neighbors. Whisky and black bun are often given as gifts to bring luck to the householder.

However, there are unique customs that are practiced only in certain areas of Scotland. One such example is the Hogamanay parties of Glasgow and central Scotland that usually last until daylight. Or the practice of fireball swinging that takes place in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire in north-east Scotland where the swingers set off up the High Street from the Mercat Cross to the Cannon and back, swinging the burning balls around their heads as the Old Town House bell tolls. Then there is the old Highland custom of early morning saining (blessing) of the household and livestock, followed by a special New Year’s Day breakfast.

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