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431 Scottish New Year
Rachel explains the Scottish New Years holiday of Hogmanay to Matt.
Catt: So what's the best holiday in Scotland?

Rachel: In Scotland... Well, Scotland has its own holidays which are different from England, like, there's Robert Burns' night, which is on the 22nd of January, and that celebrates a famous Scottish poet. But the one I like best, I think, is Hogmanay.

Matt: Ho... can you repeat that?

Rachel: Yeah. Hogmanay.

Matt: Hogmanay.

Rachel: H-O-G-M-A-N-A-Y. Hogmanay.

Matt: And what's that?

Rachel: Hogmanay is actually New Year's Eve. Yeah. And in the past, that was a sort of public holiday. Christmas wasn't a holiday in Scotland in the past, but New Year's Eve was. So it's quite a big celebration. Yeah.

Matt: What do they do on Hogmanay?

Rachel: Well, after midnight... well, before midnight you have a party and you sing For Auld Lang Syne, and then you start going first footing.

Matt: First footing.

Rachel: Yeah. So first foot through the door of your neighbor's house. So, you go to all of your neighbors' houses and you have a wee drink - a dram of whiskey or something. And you just wish them all the best for the New Year. And, it's a really lovely tradition.

Matt: First footing, so you literally, the first time you enter a bunch of your neighbors' houses.

Rachel: Yes. Yeah. And, if the first person into your house is a tall, dark, handsome stranger carrying a bottle of whiskey and a piece of coal, and, I think it's called Bannock cake, I might be wrong about that, but then you'll be fortunate throughout the year. So the coal represents fire and warmth, right? The whiskey, obviously represents...

Matt: cheer.

Rachel: Yes, cheer, and the cake represents, you know, food and sustenance.

Matt: Wow, so do people actually carry those things around with them?

Rachel: Yes they do. I still remember, when I was a kid, we lived in England actually, and... but, one Scottish friend came over specially with those things 'cause he felt like we wouldn't be celebrating in England. So, yeah.

Matt: Interesting. I have a question, though. If... I think that first footing sounds so nice, but if all of the neighborhood is first footing...

Rachel: I know.

Matt: Who is there to receive the guest?

Rachel: Well, my mother's, in my mother's town, which is quite small, for some reason a bunch of her friends live on the same street, so they usually have a party in one person's house. And then, each person runs home quickly before they get to the house to open it up to the rest of the ...

Matt: So they go in order?

Rachel: Yeah. So you go on sort of drinking throughout the night till about 5 in the morning.

Matt: Wow.

Rachel: Which is probably why Scottish people have a bit of a reputation.

Matt: Thank you very much. That's cool.