The Scottish island that is yet to celebrate New Year

The New Year celebrations have faded for most - but on one island in the Outer Hebrides they have yet to begin.

Preparations are underway on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides for Oidhche Challain - or the Old New Year - which is celebrated on January 12.

It has been an unbroken tradition to mark New Year on this day on Berneray with islanders determined to respect the old ways of their people.

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There has been an unbroken tradition on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides of marking New Year's Eve on January 12 in line with the old Julian calendar. PIC: Creative Commons/Flickr/Robbie Shade.

On Saturday, as the tradition dictates, children will dress up in homemade fancy dress - typically going as a fisherman or a crofter - and visit every house on Berneray, which has a population of around 130.

On arrival, the children recite a verse in Gaelic, the duan, that tells of their hunger before asking the householder to hand over their surplus food - or risk a curse being put on their house.

After being invited in, the children sit and have a chat and enjoy the warm of the home before collecting their treats. Tinned fruits and sweets are commonly shared but money is also handed over.

One woman recalled how her daughter, a few years ago, took home £64 after the night of Oidhche Challain.

On leaving a house with their supplies, a second verse is recited in Gaelic which thanks the householder and wishes them well for the year ahead.

Pamela MacKillop’s daughters, aged 13 and 11, will be amongst those out in Berneray on Saturday.

Ms MacKillop said: “It is a lovely evening. We do our best to get out on the 12th every year but sometimes the weather is again us.

“We visit every single house on the island and we don’t normally finish until around 11pm at night.

“I married into the island but I know this is something that has always been done. My husband remembers going out on the night.

“It is a nice tradition and we want to keep it. It respects the ways of the island.

“The causeway connects Berneray to Uist now but there is still an island mentality and identity here.”

Mrs MacKillop said the costumes worn by the young people ‘never anything bought’ and always made at home.

A similar ritual of children going door-to-door takes place on South Uist with the ‘Hogmanay Boys’ collecting food in their pillowcases, usually on December 31.

Berneray is not the only place in Scotland to mark New Year according to the Julian calendar, which was replaced in 1752 by the Gregorian Calendar.

Devised by Pope Gregory XIII around 200 years earlier, it introduced a new formula for calculating leap years with the beginning of the legal new year moved from March 25 to January 1

In addition, 11 days were dropped from the month of September 1752.

After the calendar change, people of Burghead in Moray decided to keep holding their traditional Burning the Clavie celebration on January 11 to mark the end of the old year.

It is still held on that date with claims the celebration dates back to 400AD when Burghead served as a Pictish powerbase.

The ceremony involves a 100kg barrel filled with wood and tar being mounted on a large post and carried through the village before being placed on Doorie Hill.

Villagers believe that receiving blackened staves from the vessel brings luck for the coming year, and pieces are sent to expats worldwide with many returning home for the ceremony.

The barrel is paraded through Burghead before being placed on the summit of Doorie Hill.

In Foula, part of the Shetland Isles, New Year is marked on January 13 in observance of the old calendar.