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Hogmanay is the Scottish festival which markB the close of the old year and the coming In of the new year. One of the customs associated with it is the privilege of the young folk to

demand cake. The Oxford English Dictionary sug gests that the word 'hogmanay' may be derived from the French phrase 'au guy I'an neuf' ('to the mistletoe the new year..), but Chambers' En cylopaedia describes this as 'an ex ploded ingenuity.' 'It is rather singular, however,' said 'The Weekly Scotsman' in Its column, 'Our Highland Horoscope' some time ago. 'that we never hear of a Gaelic derivation being sought, but in Gaelic and Highland oldtime cus toms may be found what many have thought to be the true solution. ?'On Hogmanay in the Highlands until quite recent times the young people of the village would gather together about dusk with the inten tion of going around all the houses of the village to wish those who would be kindly disposed towards them the best of luck for the coming year, re citing rhymes to express these good wishes and to furnish themselves with all the savoury eatables with which those well-disposed folk would provide them. 'An Interesting part of the cere mony was that a leader would deck hlniBelf out with a mantle ur cover ing in the form of a cow's hide and his companions would race after him shouting and belaboring him over the cowhide with sticks. Of course, the hide would be stiff and hard so that

no damage would be done to the wearer or the carrier. 'In Perthshire until quite a recent date, when the custom fell into abey ance, cart of the shouting would be 'Thog mi 'n eugh' £1 raised the cry1), pronounced 'Hoag me'n ay.' 'When the party would repeat their rhyme at a door, provided they were given a welcome, the young people would go into the. house, march thrice sunwise around the nre, in the old days In the middle of the floor, of course, bless the house and ail it con tained, receive whatever gifts In Uie way of eatables that would be offered and depart to go through a similar ceremony In the next house to be visited. 'It need hardly be pointed out that the step from the sound of 'thog ml n' eugh' to that of 'hogmanay' is very short Indeed.