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This tradition began in the days when every household had open fires and so the fireplaces in particular had to be cleaned and cleared of ashes, ready for new ones to be started.It was considered bad luck to go into the New Year with a dirty house.These gifts mean the household will be safe, warm and have enough food for the year.This custom is taken very seriously and blondes, redheads and females are all considered bad luck.Between May and September, watch this quintessentially Scottish custom across the country at over 80 different events and see competitors put their muscles to the test wearing their National Dress, the Scottish kilt.From heavy contests such as the hammer throw, tug-o-war and the caber toss, to field events including a hill race and a cycling competition, the games are a spectacle like no other.Although many of the old Hogmanay traditions have now disappeared, some of the unique customs have been carried through the generations and remain part of the celebrations today.Redding the house is carried out on New Year’s Eve, essentially the equivalent of a spring clean, readying the house for the New Year.
It has since become a professional sport and there are strict rules, to which competitors must adhere to qualify.
Amongst the games there are masses of bands with pipers and drummers marching in unison, solo piping competitions and Highland dancers giving dazzling displays including the famous Highland fling.
In recent years a new tradition involving Scotland’s famous haggis has developed, where instead of it being eaten, it is thrown as far as possible whilst stood atop a whisky barrel.
No visit to Scotland is complete without hearing the iconic sound of traditional Scottish music, and of course, Scotland’s national instrument, the bagpipe.
Although this wind instrument has its origins in the Middle East, it has travelled and evolved in Europe, and Scottish people have made the Great Highland Bagpipe an outstanding part of their culture keeping the pipes alive as part of their musical tradition.
We have rounded up some of the most notable customs and traditions that can be experienced during a stay in one of our lovely Scottish holiday cottages.