Hogmanay – New Year in Scotland
New Year’s in Scotland has always been a much bigger celebration than Christmas and the Scots have managed to convince the world of the same thanks to the massive Hogmanay celebrations that virtually engulf Edinburgh.
There’s been a long tradition for people to fill the streets in villages, towns and cities all over the country on the 31st to wish each other a ‘Guid New Year’ and to knock back a dram or six to keep the cold at bay.
Back in 1993 the Edinburgh city council had the great idea to spice up the Hogmanay celebration by organizing some events, setting up some live music concerts in Princess St. and issuing something of an open invitation to the rest of the world.
The approach paid off, in just a few years, Hogmanay became one of the world’s most famous New Year celebration and Europe’s biggest winter festival, attracting more than a quarter of a million revelers on a regular basis.
With the event becoming such a big thing, Hogmanay events actually start on 29 December with a free procession that has lots in common with Lerwick’s Up-Helly-Aa. The participants in the procession carry flaming torches and head along the Royal Mile and onto Calton Hill, where a replica Viking longship is set alight. Sounds a bit overkill but it’s all in great fun. You can purchase a torch to carry in the parade, but you’ll have to pick up a voucher ahead of time to claim one.
The following night is titled ‘Night Afore’, which features a street arts carnival and a lot of music.
Obviously New Year’s Eve is when Hogmanay truly sets off, with the city centre becoming a massive street party where you can dance, sing, drink, weak a kilt and welcome the coming year.
Concert stages line the streets and you can pick up tickets for events like the Hoog dance party or the headline Concert in the Gardens.