And, as Professor Joe Goldblatt writes in The Scotsman today, people have often turned to poets, playwrights, philosophers and other artists to help them make sense of the world, particularly in turbulent times such as these.
Scotland – and much of the rest of the world – has long adopted Robert Burn’s Auld Lang Syne, with its celebration of personal relationships and old friendships renewed, as the anthem of Hogmanay.
“We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”
For those in search of ambitions and hopes for the future on a grander scale as we see in the new year, Ring Out, Wild Bells, from In Memoriam by Alfred Tennyson, may be just the thing.
“Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.”
And, as with many issues, Ogden Nash provides sound and succinct advice.
“Hark! It’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year.”
Like last year's celebrations, Hogmanay in Scotland will be a muted affair with continued concerns about Covid following the Omicron variant outbreak.
And our efforts to conjure up a brighter immediate future may be somewhat curtailed by the knowledge that this all-encompassing crisis is not yet over.
But, however we mark the end of 2021, we can always remember and celebrate those auld acquaintances and the familial ties with our loved ones that matter more than anything else.