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Yn Vlein Noa: Scottish New Years Eve Customs: In Scotland New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay (Moon of the Hag) Oidhche Chaluinne (Night of the Candle) honoring the diety Hogmagog. Three cornered biscuits called hogmanays are eaten. Bonfires are lit, torches & smoking sticks are used to ward off evil spirits. After sunset people collect juniper cypress & water to purify the home. Divining rituals are done according to the directions of the winds, which are assigned their own colors.
First Footing: This is the time when friends & relatives come to visit the home. The first person who comes to the door on midnight New Year’s Eve should be a dark-haired or dark-complected man. Seeing a cat, dog, woman, red-head or beggar is unlucky. The person brings a gift of coal or whiskey to ensure prosperity in the New Year. At the moment the New Year arrives, doors & windows are opened to let out the old year & drive out the Cwn Annwn, the black dogs of the underworld who pass through. Mummer’s Plays are also performed. The actors, Guillyn Baney: The White Boys of Yule, are all dressed in white, except for one dressed as the devil in black. It is bad luck to engage in marriage proposals, break glass, spin flax, sweep or carry out rubbish on New Year’s Eve.
Foods: wine, ginger cordial, cheese, bread, shortbread [baked dessert made of sugar, butter, & rice-flour], black bun, ankersocks [gingerbread-rye cakes], oatmeal cake, currant breadloaf, & a pastry called scones. (1, 4, 8)
Yn Quaaltagh

Yn chied phyagh ta cheet er essyn y dorrys ayns yn vlein noa ayns Mannin t’eh enmyssit Yn Quaaltagh. Ta’n chied phyagh nagh vel jeh’n lught thie, as er yn obbyr echey hene. Ren shenn sleih goaill baght my va’n phyagh dorraghey, ny aalin, va’n trie ny coshey echey ard ny injil, v’eh berchagh ny boght, dy yannoo faishnaghyn daue hene. Va jough dy lhune, ny dy jough lajer elley, ny paart jeh red erbee ta goll, arran, praasyn as skeddan currit da. Va persoon erbee nagh ren freayll yn cherin cliaghtey liorish cur red ennagh, v’eh coontit feer voal. Te er jeet dy ye drogh cliaghtey, son ta paart dy leih goll mygeayrt veih thie dy hie, as t’ad gaase scooyrit.

V’ad cliaghtey cur greesagh voan, ny greesagh gheayl, er yn chiollagh. V’ad jeeaghyn son cowrey coshey. Va cowrey coshey goll magh monney baase, as va cowrey coshey cheet stiagh monney poosey.

Ta’d gra dy vel ad goll er yn unnysup. Red erbee sailliu cur dooinyn.

...Ny guillyn baney, guillyn sheig yn drean, as quaaltaghyn hooar ad yn unnysup. Ta mee er chlashtyn my yishig vooar gra dy row ny briwnyn eeckit lesh yn unnysup Va’n leigh ec y traa shen leigh chleeau. Ta ny Briwnyn ny feallagh s’jerree jeh ny Druee.

The First-Foot

The first person who comes on the sole of the door in the new year in the Isle of Man is called The Quaaltagh (meeter). It is the first person not of the household, & on his own business. The old people took notice if the person was dark or fair, his instep high or low, if he were rich or poor, to foretell their luck. A drink of ale, or of other strong drink, or some of anything that was going, bread, potatoes, & herring, was given to him. Any person who did not keep up the old custom by giving something was considered very mean. It has come to be a bad custom, for some people go about from house to house, & they get drunk.

They used to put turf ashes, or ashes of coal, on the hearth. They looked for a footmark. A footmark going out was a sign of death, & a footmark coming in was a sign of marriage.

They say that they are going on the deserving. Anything you wish to give us.

...The White Boys, the Hunt the Wren Boys,& Quaaltaghs received the deserving. I have heard my grandfather say that the deemsters were paid by the deserving The law at that time was breast-law. The deemsters are the last of the Druids.

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