Until relatively recently, people in Scotland celebrated the New Year and ignored Christmas, and people in England did the reverse. This was largely a result of the different pathways each country took in the 17th Century. Christmas was banned by Puritan order and at the restoration of the monarchy people were encouraged to welcome back “Old Father Christmas”. The Scottish Church frowned upon the notion, continuing to celebrate the New Year.
New Year had traditions of its own such as exchanging gifts and sending greetings but for the English it was an ambiguous feast, halfway between Christmas and Twelfth Night. Things changed when, in 1974, New Year’s Day became a Bank Holiday and now, for many, it holds more significance than Twelfth Night.
Today, for many, New Year is a time to celebrate with parties and fireworks, and say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year with hope.