31 December 2007

Happy Hogmanay

There are certain experiences that should not be missed. These aren't the climbing Everest type, just human places to be a certain times. A couple of them involve the New Year. If at all possible, find a group of real Scots, at least one of whom should be a dark haired man as you will need him after 12:01 a.m.

These are modern folks. They wear jeans not kilts, don't play bagpipes daily and know how to use ATMs. On New Year's Eve they dig back into their past of the last 500 years and invest something special into the event. In modern day Scotland the street parties in Edinburgh or Glasgow are a sight to behold. In the small towns, the bonfires burn to bring back the sun.

In all of the places wherever they gather around the world, at midnight you cross your hands across your body and form a circle, and you sing only one song (all of it). Even though it is Burn's version that is sung, he said that he was only recording a folk song that streched way back in time. It is a song that looks backward to childhood and forward to old age. It is a wistful melody for things lost and things gained. Anyone who needs an English translation, just ask.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Once the New Year turns, the dark man bearing gifts of survival is welcomed at the door. It is considered fortunate if your first visitor on the 1st January is a tall dark stranger, armed with a lump of coal and a bottle of whisky. To this can be added the options of salt, shortbread and/or a black bun. That he should be dark is said to hark back to when a blond arrival might be a Viking, not always with the best of intentions towards home and family.

For those who would like to watch the wild goings on in Scotland, use your computer to visit Edinburgh


Corey a.k.a Shanky said...

I never knew the complete lyrics to that song. I suppose if it's a really good New Years Eve , by the time that song is played all you are able to do is hum along to it. Happy New Year , Jamie.

Matt-Man said...

That's the version that I sing every New Year's Eve...Not intentionally, but when drunk, that's how it comes out. Cheers and Happy Hogmanay!!

Travis said...

I know it's tradition on new year's eve, but I really do despise that song.

Jamie said...

I love the later verses and of course the meaning behind the words of friendship even when separated by great distances.