Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year's Day or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday.
Though each area of Scotland developed its own particular Hogmanay rituals, there are many national customs associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall dark men are preferred as the first-foot. wikipedia;associatedcontent.com
Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, wrote the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne in the 19th century. The title translates to old long since, and is appropriately sung to remember old friends, and the events of the passing year. The tune is from an old Scottish folk song.
Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo, for auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp! and surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes, and pu’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn, frae morning sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar’d sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! and gie's a hand o’ thine! And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught, for auld lang syne.