Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United Kingdom   2nd January
Flag for United Kingdom

2nd January in the United Kingdom

The New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations in Scotland are known as Hogmanay and may last into January 2, an annual bank holiday. This holiday is marked with parties, specially prepared foods and the custom of first footing.

Is 2nd January a Public Holiday?

2nd January is a public holiday in Scotland, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

January 2 is a public holiday when families spend time together in Scotland.

©iStockphoto.com/Andraz Gregoric

What Do People Do?

Hogmanay celebrations generally begin in the afternoon or evening of New Year's Eve and continue into early hours of the New Year's Day morning. Some family gatherings or private celebrations organized by groups of friends may continue through to January 2.

In some areas, the custom of first footing continues on January 2. First footing refers to when someone is the first person to enter a house on January 1. For many people in Scotland, January 2 is a day to recover from the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations or to spend some quiet time with friends or family members before returning to work on January 3.

Public Life

January 2 is not a bank or public holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, January 1 and 2 are bank holidays in Scotland. Banks and post offices are closed. There may be limited public transport services or none at all. Some stores and businesses may be closed.

If either or both of January 1 and 2 fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the bank holidays are moved to the next week days. For instance, if January 1 falls on a Saturday and January 2 on a Sunday, the bank holidays are moved to January 3 and 4.

Background

The Hogmanay celebration origins can be traced to pre-Christian observances in mid-winter. These included large fires to tempt the Sun back to earth, as well as feasts of the food gathered and harvested in the autumn. Hogmanay was traditionally a more important celebration than Christmas in Scotland but the importance of Christmas recently increased.

Symbols

Fires are burnt during Hogmanay. This is a tradition from the pre-Christian winter celebrations. In Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, fire balls are made of tar, paper and wire attached to a chain or non-flammable rope. The balls are lit and swung around people's heads in a procession. At the end of the evening, burning balls are thrown into the harbor. In Burghead, Moray, the clavie (a barrel filled with of tar and old casks) is burnt on January 11, the old Hogmanay date.

Popular Hogmanay dishes include: steak pie; lamb or beef stew; shortbread and cheese; Scotch pancakes (small, thick pancakes cooked on a griddle) with butter or smoked salmon; rumbledethumps (boiled potatoes and swedes or turnips mashed with stir fried cabbage and oven-baked); and seven-cup pudding (steamed pudding with dried fruit and spices). Whiskey is a popular drink.

People traditionally ate black bun on Twelfth Night (January 6) but it is now eaten on the last day of Hogmanay. Black bun consists of a pastry case filled with nuts, spices and dried fruit soaked in brandy. It is often made a few weeks ahead to allow the flavors to mature.

2nd January Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015FriJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland
2016MonJan 42nd January (substitute day)Local Bank HolidayScotland
2017TueJan 32nd January (substitute day)Local Bank HolidayScotland
2018TueJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland
2019WedJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland
2020ThuJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland
2021MonJan 42nd January (substitute day)Local Bank HolidayScotland
2022TueJan 42nd January (substitute day)Local Bank HolidayScotland
2023TueJan 32nd January (substitute day)Local Bank HolidayScotland
2024TueJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland
2025ThuJan 22nd JanuaryLocal Bank HolidayScotland

You might also like

Look Up for Shooting Stars!

Look Up for Shooting Stars!

Shooting stars from the Geminid Meteor Shower can be seen nearly all over the world. The peak is around December 14 with up to 120 meteors an hour! more

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

All of December, this comet will be bright enough to spot with the naked eye. Find the comet on our Interactive Night Sky Map and see when and where you can watch it. more

New years eve

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve, or Hogmanay in Scotland, is the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. more

London is famous for its New Year's Day firework display.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day marks the start of a new year in the Gregorian calendar, the official calendar used in the United Kingdom. more