Wellington Region Hogmanay: Come along and celebrate!

Hogmanay is what Scots call New Year’s Eve. Marking the arrival of the new year on 31 December, the origins of Hogmanay hark back to the Vikings celebrating the winter solstice with wild parties.

The late Ross Edwards piping in First Foot Chris Totton at the 2010 Hogmanay

There’s great revelling throughout Scotland on Hogmanay. Here in New Zealand, we’re often fortunate we can celebrate at a local Hogmanay with Scottish Country Dancing.

We can dance the night away to toe-tapping live music, take part in a sing-along (including Auld Lang Syne where we join hands with old friends and new ones we’ve just met), and welcome a piper leading in a First Foot—the first person to come across the threshold in the new year, carrying gifts of coal for warmth, salt or money for wealth, shortbread for sustenance and whisky for good cheer.

My very first Hogmanay was in 1974 at a Nelson Summer School during a trip around the South Island on my motorbike. My friend Christine, who had talked me into starting to dance just a few months before, persuaded me to ride to the school (yes, in my evening wear!) for the dance. The fun I had at that evening convinced me Hogmanay was the only way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in future—anything else paled in comparison.

Since then, I’ve danced at Hogmanay at many Summer Schools throughout New Zealand, at Wellington Region events and once in Pitlochry in Perthshire in the heart of Scotland—where we danced Duke of Perth at least three times!

High-spirited turns to the music from Peter Elmes and his band in 2014

The Wellington Region organises a Hogmanay in the years when there’s not a Summer School nearby, which gives us a fine chance to celebrate.

I’ve enjoyed Hogmanay at various locations around Wellington including Onslow College in 2006, Newlands in 2010 and Ngaio in 2014.

With lots of smiles and laughter, Hogmanay is a relaxed and fun-filled evening with the lively music encouraging dancers on to the floor.

This year with music from Aileen Logie, Iain Matcham and Jason Morris, Hogmanay is on at 8:00pm, Tuesday 31 December at Crofton Downs Primary School Hall

With Rod Downey as MC, lots of popular and well-known dances on the programme and most dances walked, it’ll be a grand welcome to 2020. Come along and join in!

From Loralee Hyde

Download the 2019 Hogmanay programme and crib sheet here

Click here to see more of Loralee’s photos from Hogmanays from 2006-2018 in and about Wellington

Published in Harbour City Happenings Volume 22 No. 4 December 2019

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