by Willa Condy, Trail, B.C.
I am part Scottish. This year I am feeling a Hogmanay vibe, definitely.
Hogmanay is a tradition of seeing the New Year in that dates back to viking days.
The origins go back to a time when instead of Christmas people celebrated the winter solstice. Hogmanay lingered in Scotland and is a bigger celebration than Christmas.
You want to start the new year by getting rid of all the traces of the old year. So the house is cleaned and the hearth is swept out to start the New Year fresh.
Another tradition involves fire and stems from pre-Christian Celts. In Edinburg thousands march through the city centre carrying torches. I will admit I would love to go to Scotland and witness this.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve people join hands in a circle and sing Auld Lang Syne, a tradition that has been shared around the world.
Next people would head out of their houses to visit family and friends. The first guest of the year, called a first footer, brought a gift and was offered a shot of whiskey by the household. It was said that the first footer set the tone for the upcoming year. Traditions include giving coal representing a warm house and salt for the hearth, to shortbread or other food.
This year is one we will look back at and actually want to forget. This is one year that I am looking forward to its ending.
It has shown that we do have some superheroes left in the world. Kudos to all the health care workers who have had to deal with this year from hell. They have fought a battle to save as many lives of those suffering with Covid-19. Unfortunately we have lost some of these first line heroes to Covid. I am grateful that the first responders will be top of the list to receive the Covid vaccine.
Also all the unsung heroes that stepped this year. Those who stock the stores, the truck drivers who have been transporting goods and helping keep our countries running. The wait staff who have adapted to more take out and dealt with the ups and downs of social restrictions with a smile. All of the other people who stepped up to keep our world turning. Those people who stepped up to deliver groceries and help neighbours who had pre existing medical conditions.
This has been a year of new beginnings. We gained a new fur buddy when we got Roxy. I think many people found room in their lives for fur babies.
Other new experiences include learning how to virtually attend meetings. I know that I had never heard of Zoom before this spring. Now I have weekly meetings and occasionally have virtual gatherings with family via the internet.
On January1st 2020 gets left behind. 2021 begins, bringing new hopes and a chance to begin to dream.
I can dream about going on another cruise, but that will be a year or so down the road. I can dream about going down to Spokane and visiting Northern Quest Casino and staying for a day or two. Okay, the border is still closed but I can still dream.
I can dream about going and visiting with family and friends. This year our bubble has been kept small and I am missing spending time with special people in my life. I can dream about being able to sit down with family and sharing a meal.
I am looking forward to being able to hug again. Or to go to see a show or a movie. Those little things we took for granted before.
So now I am cleaning and cooking my Christmas turkey. I am not giving up on celebrating Christmas. This year the lights seem to bring a bit more cheer and I admit to decorating the house early. As the days got shorter I think we all appreciated seeing the lights shining almost giving some hope.
But this year I am looking forward to beginning a New Year. To remembering those who we lost and celebrating the end of 2020. I may raise a dram but it will not be Scotch whiskey, knowing me tequila will be substituted.
2021 is starting fresh and clean. It will still be challenging, don’t throw your mask out yet. It will be the fall before life really gets back to normal. But it will. Happy New Years everyone.
Willa Condy was born and raised in the West Kootenay. She is married, lives in Trail with her “better half” and their dog Roxy. Willa is part of the baby boom and loves photography, music, writing and having fun. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org