|Edinburgh on Hogmanay|
This unusual word probably comes from hoguinané, a Norman French form of Old French aguillanneuf. The first element of aguillanneuf is of unknown origin, tacked on to l'an neuf (the new year). This was a shout with which people (especially children) greeted the New Year and demanded a New Year's gift (rather as children shout "Trick or treat!" on Halloween). The gift was traditionally oatcakes (a round, flat, not very sweet oat biscuit), from which custom the day also came to be known as "cake day".
Just to be confusing, there are some actual cakes traditionally eaten in Scotland on Hogmanay, but they are not called cakes. One is is the "Scotch bun" (also known as "black bun"), a spiced fruitcake with a pastry crust. Another is the delightfully named "cloutie dumpling". This version of Christmas pudding is wrapped in a cloth (a "clout" in Scots English, derived from the Anglo-Saxon word clut, originally meaning a piece of something but quite quickly applied specifically to pieces of fabric).
Oatcakes, black buns, cloutie dumplings... all washed down with a wee dram, no doubt. Or a not so wee one.
So I'll wish you Happy Hogmanay, and all the very best in 2013!
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