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Hogmanay and after

January 2, 2011

For all that the commercial events at Castle Beastie are shut down over Christmas and New Year, this is actually one of my busiest times of the calendar. Come the first of January, I am usually feeling extremely left-over. People who have the energy to make resolutions and plan holidays and so forth on New Year’s Day clearly, it seems to me, have not had enough to do in the past week. I will start eating more healthily again; I will sort my desk; I will get organised for the year; but not yet. January is for hibernation and recovery, if you ask me. Far more natural to start the new year on the twenty-fifth of March, as they used to in the Middle Ages.


the old year draws to its close

Mind you, it’s not that I am feeling delicate after Hogmanay, if that’s what you are thinking. The Scottish Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve is a notoriously hard-partying night – but we were with nice English relatives, who were extremely, well, English about it all. In fact I went to bed before midnight, without a drop of whisky. Given how tired out I was feeling, I didn’t mind much. (Well, not too much.) I was reminded, though, of a pertinent comment which I read in a newspaper a year or two ago. I thought it so true that I stuck it on the kitchen noticeboard, but I’m afraid that I didn’t make a note of who wrote it, so I must quote it unattributed:

‘The English celebrate New Year as if they were Hobbits in Tolkien’s Shire; the Scots celebrate Hogmanay as if they were Aragorn on the frontier of Mordor. Long may the difference continue. Happy New Year.’


a wee dram in fond memory of Sir Iain Noble, staunch champion of Gaelic and whisky, who died on Christmas morning.


Slàinte mhath, agus bliadhna mhath ur!*

(*Good health, and happy new year)


See also: Skye; The deep freeze continues

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2011 10:24 pm

    I’m with when it comes time for hibernation. My grandmother used to say, the winter months after Christmas was our vacation time, time just for us to relax and do whatever we want. No gardens to weed, produce to pick and preserve – just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet. Happy New Year, and happy hibernating.

  2. January 2, 2011 11:20 pm

    Enjoy your hibernation … speaking as a hobbit 😉 Though I did manage to stay up until 2am and celebrate the New Year with most of the island, but I left them to it after that. I rejoined the party again Saturday night. You Scots certainly know how to party…..

  3. January 3, 2011 2:20 pm

    Good idea to start the New Year in March! Here’s to hibernation.

  4. Jenni permalink
    January 5, 2011 6:27 am

    As an exile in the Shire, I really miss Hogmanay and first footing. I feel like I have lost an important part of my winter celebration with New Year’s Day a dull anticlimax. My lovely Hobbity husband has suggested that I educate my friends down here about first footing next year. Lang may yer lum reek – but not in a bad way that might involve the fire brigade!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      January 5, 2011 6:47 pm

      Poor you. I know what you mean. I’m sure that your Hobbit neighbours would be delighted to be inculcated into a more Aragorn-esque method of bringing in the New Year!


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