The Brunswick Area Recreation Council (BARC) will present its 11th Annual Scottish First Footing this evening, New Year’s Eve. The event will take place at 11:45 p.m. in Square Corner Park, located at 1 East Potomac Street, Brunswick, in Frederick County, MD.
The Frederick Drums & Pipes will ring in the 2016 year will selections and melodies leading up to midnight, performing the ever-popular “Auld Lang Syne” when the New Year arrives. Following these performances, the bagpipers will bestow the Scottish Blessing to the City of Brunswick to all who attend. This will include the presentation of a bottle of drink to ensure that there will be plenty of drink in the coming year, a cake to symbolize that there will be plenty to eat, and a lump of coal to signify heat for warmth and cooking in the New Year.
The First Footing tradition in Scotland may be traced back to original Hogmanay celebrations that were brought to the nation by Vikings in the early 8th and 9th centuries. Norsemen paid particular interest to the arrival of the Winter Solstice by holding great festive parties. Between the 17th century up through the mid-20th century, Christmas was not celebrated in Scotland as a festive occasion, but rather a quiet day of worship. Instead, the lively celebrations were reserved for the New Year, when family and friends would come together in fellowship and exchange gifts known as hogmanays.
Hogmanay celebrations recruit a number of traditions and superstitions to follow to ensure a fortuitous new year rather than one filled with bad omens and misfortune. Some include cleaning the house and taking ashes from the fire, clearing all debts before the bells sound at midnight, and many others. Among these traditions is the one of welcoming First Footers to your home. The tradition of first footing dictates that if the first person to cross the threshold of your home is a dark-haired male, he will bring good luck to you in the coming year. Most commonly, first footers also bring coal, shortbread, salt, black bun, and whisky. Females are never a good omen, nor are fair-haired men, as in olden days, fair men usually denoted Viking presence—and a big blonde stranger appearing at your door in those days was never a good sign. You can learn more about Scottish New Year traditions by clicking this link.
The mission of BARC is to provide events for the southwest section of Frederick County, MD, including fundraisers and recreational pastimes. You can learn more about all BARC does by visiting the main website link here. To read more about the Scottish First Footing event in Brunswick, click here.