Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
Фото: edinburghshogmanay.com
Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration of the last day of the new year. Its roots probably go back to the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Today, it is observed on New Year’s Eve and followed by further celebration on New Year’s Day. One of the biggest Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, it is a three-day festival which lasts from December 31 to January 2.

Different parts of Scotland have their own Hogmanay customs and traditions, but fire is an essential element of practically every celebration. Examples of local Hogmanay customs include fireball swinging, fire shows, firework displays, the burning of the Clavie, etc. These customs can be easily explained by the fact that Hogmanay has pagan roots, and pagans believed that fire had purifying properties.

Hogmanay is celebrated in all areas of Scotland, where January 1 and 2 are bank holidays, and even abroad in the countries which have a significant Scottish diaspora. But the largest and most significant Hogmanay celebration takes place in Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 1996-1997 was even recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest New Year party, with about 400,000 attendees. Numbers have since been restricted due to safety concerns, but the event still remains one of the highlights of the UK’s holiday calendar.

The program of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is very rich and diverse. It features street parties with live music, open-air performances, torchlight processions, firework displays, ceilidhs (traditional Gaelic social gatherings with folk music and dancing), art exhibitions, special activities for children, parades, and more. Most events are free to attend, but some concerts require admission tickets because the number of seats is limited. Besides, groups which want to participate in the Torchlight Procession must purchase a special voucher. All proceedings are donated to charity. At the stroke of midnight on December 31, the cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Alongside Edinburgh, other big cities across Scotland including Inverness, Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen host New Year celebrations, but Edinburgh’s Hogmanay remains Scotland’s main tourist attraction during the holiday season. People from different countries come to Edinburgh to experience the traditional Scottish celebration.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Photo: edinburghshogmanay.com




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