Holiday Tradition – Scotland

Ann Jurkowski, a family friend, described the Scottish New Years in detail as there are many unique aspects to it. A main feature of this event is termed “first footing”. Every person is meant to take a piece of their own coal and at midnight distribute it to other people to use in their houses. Often times people do not know from which neighbor the coal comes from. However it is useful as the weather is miserable and so people use the coal to furnish their fires.

Ann commented that the entire event is just “good fun”. It has no restrictions on who can enjoy the excitement of the holiday and is very social. A nice gesture that many people undertake on this holiday is delivering coal to someone who may not have anyone to celebrate the New Year with. As opposed to the United States where people hold individual celebrations and people have to be invited to attend, in Scotland everyone keeps their door unlocked as there are no limitations in any regard. Therefore the New Year brings in a time of spirit but additionally it brings in a sense of unity for all.

I believe that this holiday represents more of what the New Year should be celebrating. It connects the people of Scotland and allows involvement with all types of people. The New Year should be about making change for the improvement of society and appreciation for the past year. By allowing all to be included it shows that although we may all follow different paths, and have varying levels of prosperity and happiness, we all have hopes for an even better new year. This commonality allows a sense of community for all.