Old Year out, New Year in

📖 In relation to yesterday’s post linking Scottish Gaelic & Scottish Lowland New Year traditions, here’s another wee one:

When the hands of the clock are almost on the hour, the head of the house rises, goes to the main door, opens it wide and holds it thus until the last stroke of the hour has died away.

“Welcome in, New Year! When ye come, bring good cheer!”

Then he shuts the door quietly and returns to the family circle. He has let the Old Year out and the New Year in. Instead of, or simultaneously with the opening of the house door, there is often a rush to the windows, and the pealing of the domestic bells (where they hung in a row in the kitchen, they were swept with a broom) and the beating of trays mingle with the clamour of church and town bells, the tooting of horns, the whistling of sirens, and the shouting of exuberant throats, borne in from the streets. (Originally this was no mere welcome; it was a solemn rite designed, like the beating of the house walls by the Hogmanay Lads of the Highlands and Islands, to exorcise all the demonic or malign influences that had accumulated in the home or in the community throughout the past year.) The hullabaloo subsides; the windows are shut; Auld Lang Syne is sung; greetings and small gifts or “hogmanays” are exchanged; glasses are filled- and already the first-footers are on them.

A Calendar of Scottish Customs: Hallowe’en to Yule by F. Marian McNeill

🪟 As can be seen from the above quote there are quite a few variations of this tradition re: if it’s windows &/or doors, who does the opening etc – which ones have you heard about or done yourself? For me it’s open the back door to let the old year out & front door to let the new year in 🚪

🐍 If you’re interested in reading more, have a wee look at the related articles linked below under the Share buttons etc if you haven’t already ⬇️

📸 Featured Photo Credit: Me – cat peering out of an open window, Glasgow

2 thoughts on “Old Year out, New Year in

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