That’s it then – Christmas is over for another year. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2010 we thought we’d take you through some of the traditions associated with New Year and ways you could celebrate seeing in 2011.
Did you know it’s only been since 1752 that 1 January has been considered as New Years Day in the United Kingdom? We’ve actually bee quite late adopters of this date – the first to take it as New Years Day were the Venetians back in 1522. Prior to 1 January – it was 1 March that was thought of as New Year.
New Years Eve is considered a night for celebration across the country. Alongside the private parties that are held there are public celebrations – most notably in Edinburgh with the celebration of Hogmanay. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Party is described as the largest New Year celebration in the world that this years starts on 30 December 2010 and concludes on 2 January 2011. The fun starts with a torchlight procession along the Royal Mile. The party then continues with concerts, fireworks and street parties.
A custom associated with hogmanay is that of first footing. This starts from midnight and involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbours, often bearing symbolic gifts such as salt (for wealth), coal (for warmth), whiskey or a black bun (rich fruit cake for food and drink) that are intended to bring good luck to the house. Tradition has it that for the best luck to be brought to the household the first footer should be a tall, dark-haired male.
For those south of the border – London also boasts outdoor New Year public celebrations. Thousands gather on the embankment to listen to Big Ben ring in the New Year. Then on the morning of 1 January there is the New Years Day Parade in London – starting at midday by the Ritz Hotel and progressing along Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall before arriving in Parliament Square for it’s conclusion at 3pm. This coming parade will mark the silver jubilee of the event having started back in 1987.
Cardiff is also hosting a number of outdoor events this New Years Eve. Cardiff Castle has a family fireworks show, skate in the open air ice rink at Cardiff’s Civic Centre, listen to live music or for a more exhilarating and refreshing way to see in the New Year why not join in the New Year Blast at the Cardiff International White Water Centre?
If you’d like to take the plunge in 2011 you could join in with one of the New Years Day swims – there’s one in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire or if the open sea doesn’t appeal – you could take a dip in the outdoor heated pool in Hampton. There are also New Years Day swims organised in Abersoch in North Wales, Lyme Regis in Dorset, the Isle of Man and Gyllyngavase Beach near Falmouth in Cornwall.
However you decide to celebrate – have fun and from the team at Ordnance Survey – we wish you a very “Mappy” New Year!