We humans, love to eat and we love to celebrate with food, from weddings to birthdays to a Sunday family lunch. Whilst our customs might be different, all around the world we celebrate new beginnings, whether that is a new year, a new marriage or a new baby. And while the food we serve to celebrate new beginnings may be slightly different in our own corner of the globe, there seems to be a universal theme in the type of food we eat. We celebrate the new with circular-shaped food.
New Year’s festivity dates back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon, connecting religion and mythology. In ancient Babylon, the new moon following the vernal equinox, when, in late, March an equal amount of sunlight and darkness are present, marked the New Year. The vernal equinox represented the rebirth of the natural world.
Plant lore is the verdant heart of Scottish folk holidays and traditions. Nature’s gift and sacrifice is found in the burning heart of Yule – the Yule log of ash or birch.
In a strange old custom, the Dundee dressed herring is dressed in a crepe paper skirt and bonnet combination in bright colours, tied to ribbons, and carried through the streets and into homes on Hogmanay night.
First-footing as a New Year custom is most common in Scotland and the north of England, but it does have regional, and international, variations.