Blog post by Graeme McKay – Connecting with people is a New Year tradition for our Chaplain

Happy New Year to you all, “mae ye hae a guid yin”! As a Scotsman, New Year has always been a significant time of the year, perhaps even more so than Christmas (which was not a public holiday in Scotland until the mid-20th century). Traditionally it was a time when you would connect with people as families, in communities and even with strangers. One of the traditions of New Year was “First Fittin” (first footing), where you would go visiting neighbours, family friends and even strangers to welcome the New Year. Even today some of the older generation will not leave their house in the New Year until they receive a first foot.

Often the eldest sons is kicked out in the freezing midnight air with a piece of coal (as a symbol of warmth and good luck), a Dundee Cake (as a symbol of good rich food) and a dram of whisky (as a symbol of good health and life) in order to come back in as the first foot after the Bells. So it would be that from teenage years onwards you would go from house to house, spending time with people and sharing together.

New Year is a time when we remember and celebrate what has happened in the past and when we can look forward to new opportunities and experiences of the coming year. However it should inspire us to cherish the friendships that we already have and to work to establish new relationships for the future. People all over the world greet the New Year with the old Scottish song, “Auld Lang Syne”, which is about not holding on to the past, of celebrating the times that we have shared with others, and in making a determined effort to building up relationships for the future.

We may not know what this year may bring but if we have strong relationships and networks, whether it be at work, home or in our personal lives, we can face the future with confidence. May you know God’s blessing in this New Year.

Graeme McKay – Senior Chaplain, Lake Sherrin and Vela