Sc. and north. Eng.
[Of obscure history, noted only from 17th c. App. of French origin: see note below.]
The name given in Scotland (and some parts of the north of England) to the last day of the year, also called ‘Cake-day’; the gift of an oatmeal cake, or the like, which children expect, and in some parts systematically solicit, on that day; the word shouted by children calling at friends' houses and soliciting this customary gift.
c1680 [see b]. 1693 Scotch Presbyt. Eloq. (1738) 120 It is ordinary among some Plebeians in the South of Scotland, to go about from Door to Door upon New-Year's Eve, crying Hagmane. 1790 Gentl. Mag. LX. I. 499/1 Concerning the origin of the expression ‘Hagman Heigh’. Ibid., In ... Scotland, and in the North of England, till very lately, it was customary for every body to make and receive presents amongst their friends on the eve of the new year, which present was called an Hagmenay. Ibid. II. 616/2 On the last night of the old year (peculiarly called Hagmenai). 1792 Caledonian Mercury 2 Jan. (Jam.), The cry of Hogmanay Trololay is of usage immemorial in this country. 1805 J. NICOL Poems I. 27 (Jam.) The cottar weanies, glad an’ gay ... Sing at the doors for hogmanay. 1825 BROCKETT s.v. Hagmena, The poor children in Newcastle, in expectation of their hogmena, go about from house to house knocking at the doors, singing their carols, and [saying] ‘Please will you give us wor hogmena’. 1826-41 R. CHAMBERS Pop. Rhymes Scot. (1858) 295 The children on coming to the door, cry ‘Hogmanay!’ which is in itself a sufficient announcement of their demands. Ibid. 296 Cries appropriate to the morning of Hogmanay ... ‘Get up, goodwife, and shake your feathers, And dinna think that we are beggars; For we are bairns come out to play, Get up and gie's our hogmanay.’ 1827 HONE Table-Bk. I. 7 The Hagman Heigh is an old custom observed in Yorkshire on new year's eve. 1830 SCOTT Jrnl. II. 360 We spent our Hogmanay pleasantly enough. 1884 St. James's Gaz. 27 Dec. 6/1 Seasonable mummery ... was reserved for Hogmanay. 1890 Scott. Antiq. June 40 This is the sort of thing they used to sing as their ‘Hagmena Song’ in Yorkshire. 1893 HESLOP Northumb. Gloss. s.v., In North Northumberland the hogmanay is a small cake given to children on Old Year's Day; or the spice bread and cheese, with liquor, given away on the same day. 1897 E. W. B. NICHOLSON Golspie 100-108.
b. attrib. and Comb., as hogmanay cake, day, night, concert, song, etc.
c1680 in Law Mem. 191 note [Protest of the Gibbites] They solemnly renounce ... Pasch-Sunday, Hallow-even, Hogmynae-night, Valentine's even [etc.]. 1826-41 R. CHAMBERS Pop. Rhymes Scot. (1858) 295 A particular individual ... has frequently resolved two bolls of [oat]meal into hogmanay cakes. 1864 BURTON Scot Abr. I. v. 297 The eve that ushers in the new year is called in Scotland Hogmanay Night. 1897 Westm. Gaz. 21 Dec. 6/3 On New Year's Eve there is to be a grand Hogmanay concert for the special benefit of patriotic Scots in London.
[Note. Hogmanay corresponds exactly in sense and use to OF. aguillanneuf ‘the last day of the year, new year's gift, the festival at which new year's gifts were given and asked with the shout of aguillanneuf.’ Of this Godefroy gives many dialect variants and by-forms, as ang- aguillenneu, aguilloneu, aguilanleu, haguilennef, haguirenleu, haguimenlo, etc.; in mod.Fr. dialects it survives as aiguilan, guilané, guilanneau, in Normandy hguignettes, hoguinané, in Guernsey hoginono; it is found in Sp. before 1600 as aguilando, now aguinaldo, handsel, Christmas-box. Copious examples are given by Godefroy of the phrases ‘demander l'aguillanneuf’, ‘donner l'eguilanneu’, ‘petiz enffans qui demandoient aguillenleu le jour de l'an dernier’, ‘aller querant aguillenneu le dernier jour de decembre’, ‘comme jeunes gens ont accostumé a faire pour querir leur guillenleu’, which require only to be translated, with the substitution of hogmanay, to be vernacular Sc. expressions. Although the phonetic difference between aguillanneuf and the Sc. word is great, the Norman form hoguinané is much closer to hagmané, hogmanay, and it cannot be doubted that both the custom and the term are from the French.
The French term is explained by Cotgrave, 1611, as ‘au-guy-l'an-neuf [“to the mistletoe the new year”] the voyce of country people begging small presents, or new-yeares-gifts, in Christmas: an ancient tearme of reioycing, deriued from the Druides, who were woont, the first of Januarie, to goe vnto the woods, where hauing sacrificed ... they gathered Misletow’, (etc.). And according to Souchet I. 16 (in Godefroy) ‘With us (in la Beauce) people go on new year's day to their relatives’ and friends' houses, to solicit gifts, vulgarly called l'eguilanleu, pour le guy l'an neuf [for the mistletoe the new year], for that on this day they distribute mistletoe for handsel and as a form of good augury.’ But these explanations, with the reference to the gui or mistletoe, are now rejected by French scholars as merely ‘popular etymology’. The alleged Fr. cry ‘Au gui menez, tiri liri, mainte du blanc et point du bis’, cited second-hand in Jamieson, is not to be found in the French author from whom it professes to be quoted, and appears to be a figment.
Schuchardt (Romania IV. 253) suggests that Sp. aguilando, F. aguilanleu, guilanlé, etc., are corruptions of L. calendæ; see also Körting Lateinisch-romanisches Wbch. art. 324.]
Copyright © Oxford University Press