Should you find yourself amidst the cobbled streets of Edinburgh this New Year, then prepare for a show unlike any other. It’s no surprise that folk from around the globe travel to Scotland’s historic capital to revel in joy and unison, both at the heart of Hogmanay.
The origins of this merry affaire date back to the Viking celebration of winter solstice, which involved wild parties in the month of December. It’s the Scots way of bidding farewell to the old, and welcoming in the new.
Grab your torches
Hogmanay, particularly for Scotland’s older generation, is even bigger than Christmas. The festivities begin on the 30th December when Edinburgh is lit up with thousands of brightly burning torches that flicker to the sound of beating drums.
Eager torch-bearers fill the City’s heart with a fire that brightens even the darkest of days, and The Royal Mile is alive with warmth and excitement. The torchlight procession closes with the Son et Lumière, a magnificent firework show upon the serene setting of Calton Hill.
This enchanting display would be reason enough to take a visit down to Edinburgh this New Year, but it’s only the start. Hogmanay is, in fact, a 3-day festival, lasting from December 30th – January 1st.
Dancing in the street
31st December hosts a blowout like you wouldn’t believe. This street party is not only world-famous but is also one of the reasons why Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is often quoted on lists of things to do before you die.
Acts such as The Pet Shop Boys, Twin Atlantic and Biffy Clyro have all performed at Edinburgh’s renowned street party, and this year is going to be just as high-profile. Headliner Paolo Nutini is set to have merrymakers throwing shapes into the night.
Partygoers from far and wide come together to listen to top quality music, and let the booze and the good times flow. The concert in the gardens ends with friends both old and new rejoicing in an unimaginable spectacle. From the castle ramparts, a firework display of breath-taking proportion illuminates the sky, and the new year is embraced with the biggest chorus of Auld Lang Syne that you will ever hear.
The after party
Your head may be sore, the unforgettable memories of last night still fresh in your mind, but it’s not over yet – get your fancy dress ready, it’s time for the Loony Dook. Following the Dookers Parade on January 1st, the inspiring sound of bagpipes encourages a brave few hundred to plunge themselves into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth. You can hardly blame the majority for quickly retreating back to the bar.
A celebration that embodies hope for the future, during the new year the world looks at Edinburgh as an example of how to say goodbye to the past, and welcome what’s to come. For many, Hogmanay is ultimately about human connection, and entering the new year with optimism and love.