Sometimes, it really is best to copy and paste straight from Wikipedia. Concerning Hogmanay, that most proudly defended and staunchest of Scottish holidays, ‘the etymology of the word is obscure. It may have been introduced to Middle Scots through the Auld Alliance. In 1604, the custom was mentioned in the Elgin Records as hagmonay. The most satisfactory explanation is a derivation from the Northern French dialect word, hoguinané, or variants such as hoginane, hoginono and hoguinettes. Those being derived from 16th century Old French aguillanneuf which is either a gift given at New Year, a children’s cry for such a gift or New Year’s Eve, itself. The second element would appear to be l’an neuf, i.e. the New Year. Compare those to Norman hoguinané and the obsolete customs in Jersey of crying ma hodgîngnole, and in Guernsey of asking for an oguinane, for a New Year gift.’

So, at the risk of upsetting Scots everywhere, basically they’re celebrating a French holiday. If you do want to pop ‘up the road’, for New Year, we have two pieces of advice.

A) Never repeat what we’ve just told you. B) Go to Edinburgh to see it in. A hugely enjoyable and well laid on city-wide party, that lasts four days and takes in much drinking, carousing, pipes, tattoos (military – not ink) and a whole load of fireworks. If you can blag a room to take intermittent refuge at the city’s finest restaurant and guesthouse, The Witchery by the Castle, then all the better.