Here’s a gift for Hogmanay

In Scotland, the big celebration of the season starts on December 31-January 1. The last day of the year is called Hogmanay (hog-muh-NAY) and Ne’erday is the contraction of ‘New Years Day’ in Scots dialect. For 300 years — up until about 40 years ago — all the gift-giving, European and English-influenced traditions related to Christmas were discouraged by the Presbyterian church — the national Church of Scotland. Up until the 1960s, December 25 was a normal working day in Scotland (apparently, Charles Dickens didn’t really catch on in the northern reaches of the UK). The big winter festival gift-giving, feasting, etc., occurred (and still does in a major way) on Hogmanay/Ne’erday.

Most of the more-colorful Hogmanay customs haven’t spread to the U.S. — fireball swinging, for example — however, one has: the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

I’ve never quite learned the lyrics of the song, a poem by Robert Burns, and after seeing the lyrics in various versions around the web, I can now see why. They go something like this:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and (days of) auld lang syne?

CHORUS:

For (days of) auld lang syne, my dear,
for (days of) auld lang syne,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
for (days of) auld lang syne,”

Or something like that.

From Nashville (and Austin) — via a FREE download on iTunes — here is a Jack Ingram twangy version of Auld Lang Syne you can enjoy wherever you’re celebrating Hogmanay today, tonight and, well, whenever it ends for you.

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  • Hudge

    Interesting – I had never heard of this holiday. This continues to bolster my disdain of those who beat the drum (sorry, inadvertent Christmas allusion) so loudly about the demise of the “olde fashioned Christmas” and even more that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” The season existed long before the early Church coopted it, forcing a meaning onto a date it had reason to know was not accurately that of Jesus’ birth.

    Rarely wear I a tie, but at this time of the year, I wear a “Beatle-wear” tie showing a rising sun. My Wiccan friends get it, anyway.

  • Rex Hammock

    “Church history” is not a subject most church-going people study. “History” is what they remember from when they were kids — or what they assume.