Hogmanay (Scots: [ˌhɔɡməˈneː]; English: /ˌhɒɡməˈneɪ/ HOG-mə-NAY is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year's Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.
The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but it may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances. Customs vary throughout Scotland, and usually include gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours, with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.
The etymology of the word is obscure. The earliest proposed etymology comes from the 1693 Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, which held that the term was a corruption of the Greek agía míne (αγία μήνη), or "holy month". The three main modern theories derive it from a French, Norse or Gaelic root.
The word is first recorded in a Latin entry in 1443 in the West Riding of Yorkshire as hagnonayse.The first appearance in English came in 1604 in the records of Elgin, as hagmonay. Subsequent 17th-century spellings include Hagmena (1677), Hogmynae night (1681), and Hagmane (1693) in an entry of the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence.
Although Hogmanay is currently the predominant spelling and pronunciation, a number of variant spellings and pronunciations have been recorded, including:
with the first syllable variously being /hɔg/, /hog/, /hʌg/, /hʌug/ or /haŋ/.
It may have been introduced to Middle Scots via French. The most commonly cited explanation is a derivation from the northern French dialectal word hoguinané, or variants such as hoginane, hoginono and hoguinettes, those being derived from 16th century Middle French aguillanneuf meaning either a gift given at New Year, a children's cry for such a gift, or New Year's Eve itself. Compare also the apparent Spanish cognate aguinaldo/aguilando, with a suggested Latin derivation of hoc in anno "in this year."
This explanation is supported by a children's tradition, observed up to the 1960s in some parts of Scotland at least, of visiting houses in their locality on New Year's Eve and requesting and receiving small treats such as sweets or fruit. The second element would appear to be l'an neuf ('the New Year'), with some sources suggesting a druidical origin of the practice overall. Compare those to Norman hoguinané and the obsolete customs in Jersey of crying ma hodgîngnole, and in Guernsey of asking for an oguinane, for a New Year gift (see also La Guiannee). In Québec, la guignolée was a door-to-door collection for the poor.
The word may have come from the Goidelic languages. Frazer and Kelley report a Manx new-year song that begins with the line To-night is New Year's Night, Hogunnaa but did not record the full text in Manx. Kelley himself uses the spelling Og-u-naa... Tro-la-la whereas other sources parse this as hog-un-naa and give the modern Manx form as Hob dy naa. Manx dictionaries though give Hop-tu-Naa (Manx pronunciation: [hopʰ tθu neː]), generally glossing it as "Hallowe'en", same as many of the more Manx-specific folklore collections.
In this context it is also recorded that in the south of Scotland (for example Roxburghshire), there is no ⟨m⟩, the word thus being Hunganay, which could suggest the ⟨m⟩ is intrusive.
Another theory occasionally encountered is a derivation from the phrase thog mi an èigh/eugh ([hok mi ˈɲeː], "I raised the cry"), which resembles Hogmanay in pronunciation and was part of the rhymes traditionally recited at New Year but it is unclear if this is simply a case of folk etymology.
Overall, Gaelic consistently refers to the New Year's Eve as Oidhche na Bliadhn(a) Ùir(e) ("the Night of the New Year") and Oidhche Challainn ("the Night of the Calends")
Some authors reject both the French and Goidelic theories, and instead suggest that the ultimate source both for the Norman French, Scots, and Goidelic variants of this word have a common Norse root It is suggested that the full forms
"Hoginanaye-Trollalay/Hogman aye, Troll a lay" (with a Manx cognate Hop-tu-Naa, Trolla-laa)
"Hogmanay, Trollolay, give us of your white bread and none of your gray"[
invoke the hill-men (Icelandic haugmenn, compare Anglo-Saxon hoghmen) or "elves" and banishes the trolls into the sea (Norse á læ 'into the sea'). Repp furthermore makes a link between "Trollalay/Trolla-laa" and the rhyme recorded in Percy's Relics: "Trolle on away, trolle on awaye. Synge heave and howe rombelowe trolle on away", which he reads as a straightforward invocation of troll-banning.
The roots of Hogmanay perhaps reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Norse, as well as incorporating customs from the Gaelic celebration of Samhain. The Vikings celebrated Yule, which later contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas, or the "Daft Days" as they were sometimes called in Scotland. Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland. This may have been a result of the Protestant Reformation after which Christmas was seen as "too Papist".
Hogmanay was also celebrated in the far north of England, down to and including Richmond. It was traditionally known as 'Hagmena' in Northumberland, 'Hogmina' in Cumberland, and 'Hagman-ha' or 'Hagman-heigh' in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake), intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall, dark-haired men are preferred as the first-foot.
Information extracted from Wikipedia