OK, this is not a commercial for deodorant. If it were, I would be saying - "keep your lums from reeking." Now, it does have something to do with pits - coal pits, that is. Actually, this is a New Year's greeting or more specifically a hogmanay greeting - it means "long may your chimneys smoke." I'll give it to the Celts - their language is/was very graphic - for cultures raised in the oral tradition, a graphic language was essential and so we don't have something as "textual" as "Happy New Year" - where are the pictures? where is the warmth? the angst? - but we do have "long may your chimneys smoke." - May you have enough money to keep your house warm for a long time!
|Fire Shawl from Queen Anne's Lace|
There is warmth here, literally and there is the angst, because many will not have the money to buy the coal to keep their homes warm or their children fed and clothed, or their livestock accommodated and many sacrifices will have to be made! But every year we wish everyone we know, the hope of having fewer sacrifices.
I know many will sing the Robbie Burns poem "Auld Lang Syne" at New Year, which means literally -
"old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago",
"days gone by" or "for (the sake of) old times". It's a tear jerker - luckily we sing it just once a year, many under the influence of the finest Scots whiskey, to mask all the emotion - "it wasn't me; it was the drink."
But it was you/us/we. It is our fate, to say too often, good-bye. We'll say good bye to a year or years that have passed and hello to the coming year and hope that our chimneys or the environmental equivalent will smoke - long may your windmills turn, your heart beat, your ideas flourish, your children shine, and your legacy enrich - may your spirit be the coal that fires new chimneys!!!
Happy New Year!
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