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For thousands of years, New Year’s has been a festival of rebirth and reflection, allowing people all over the world to celebrate another great year….so what will your resolution be in 2019?

New Year’s Day Resolutions and Traditions

While celebrations vary all over the world, common traditions include:

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is a national holiday celebrated on January 1st, following both the Gregorian and the Julian calendar.  This New Years’ holiday is often marked by fireworks, parades, and reflection upon the last year while looking ahead to the future’s possibilities.  Many people celebrate New Year’s in the company of loved ones, involving traditions meant to bring luck and success in the upcoming year.  Many Cultures celebrate this happy day in their own unique way.  Typically the customs and traditions of New Years Day involve celebrating with champagne and a variety of different foods.  New Years marks a date of newly found happiness and a clean slate.  For many celebrating New Years, it is our opportunity to learn from the prior year and make positive changes in our life.

New Year’s Day Holiday History

New Year’s is one of the oldest holidays still celebrated, but the exact date and nature of the festivities has changed over time. It originated thousands of years ago in ancient Babylon, celebrated as an eleven day festival on the first day of spring.  During this time, many cultures used the sun and moon cycle to decide the “first” day of the year.  It wasn’t until Julius Caesar implemented the Julian calendar that January 1st became the common day for the celebration.  The content of the festivities has varied as well and in the twentieth century, the holiday grew into its own celebration and mostly separated from the common association with religion.

New Year Food

This often includes circle-shaped foods, which symbolise cycles. The reasoning behind superstitions is that the first day of the year sets precedent for the following days.  A common superstition specific to New Year’s Day concerns a household’s first visitor of the year—tradition states that if a tall, dark-haired stranger is the first to walk through your door, called the First Footer or Lucky Bird, you’ll have good luck all year – these First Footers often carry a lump of coal, some money and a drink to be shared with the household.  Also, if you want to subscribe to superstition, don’t let anything leave the house on New Year’s, except for people.

Toasting is also important and typically concerns gratefulness for the past year’s blessings, hope and luck for the future, and thanking guests for their New Year’s company.  In coastal regions, running into a body of water or splashing water on one another, symbolises cleansing and “rebirth”.

Cold-water plunges

Like in colder countries such as Canada, parts of the United States and the Netherlands, it is customary to organise cold-water plunges so if you fancy a plunge into Loch Ness – this will certainly wake you up on a New Year’s morning!

New Year’s Song

The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.  At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death.  Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition.  An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”

Stay at The Lovat Loch Ness and read more about the history of Hogmanay here

Thanks go to this website for assistance in writing this blog post.


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Post by Caroline Gregory

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