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A tartan ribbon for Hogmanay - Ardent Pictures

Friday Fun

A Tartan Ribbon for Hogmanay

As the clock winds down on 2015, I’ve been thinking about filmmaking in black and white, and in color, and the differences between them. My thoughts turned to my family and our Scottish New Year’s tradition of Hogmanay. In the past I’ve tried to explain to friends that historically, it was bigger in Scotland than Christmas, a fact that people seem to have trouble accepting.

The Protestant Reformation essentially banned Christmas for several hundred years, and Christmas Day didn’t actually become a public holiday in Scotland until 1958. Boxing Day didn’t become a holiday until 1974.

So while everyone else celebrated Christmas, Scots people worked. (Aha. That work ethic had to come from somewhere, you’re thinking.) The family get-togethers happened on December 31, at Hogmanay, instead.

Every House is an Open House on Hogmanay

The first person to enter the house in the New Year is important; it’s called the First Footing, and a tall dark man is considered good luck, bringing gifts of food and drink (or coal).

Up until midnight is meant for quiet introspection and contemplation at home. One observes the bells at midnight with loved ones, then one can go out visiting with a bottle and offer a drink at each house.

In Scotland, it’s a longer celebration than New Year’s Eve elsewhere. Hogmanay starts on New Year’s Eve but continues throughout New Year’s Day and into January 2, which is a public holiday in Scotland. So do it right and you don’t come home for three days…

The First Color Photograph Was a Tartan Ribbon…

…Getting back to black and white and color photography. The first color photograph was of a tartan ribbon, and it was taken by Thomas Sutton in 1861. It was a three color filter process that produced a range of colors. Whenever I read about technicolor, or the colors in HD DV, sooner or later my thoughts wander back to the first color photograph, and that wee tartan ribbon that changed our world.

Happy Hogmanay to you all from us at Ardent Pictures. May you have a 2016 filled with joy and prosperity.


Got something to say? Feel free, we want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Tania says:

    Is that the photo above? It’s BEAUTIFUL, as are your words! xxxxx

    • Samantha Swan says: (Author)

      Thanks Tania! Yes, the illustration is the very photo itself. I think it’s beautiful too…

  2. Sharon Coates says:

    It is a beautiful photo! Those darn Scots can be credited with many wonderful ideas!

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