Edinburgh Hogmanay: Scotland’s big night of the year
New Year celebrations are huge across the world but for passion and spectacle an Edinburgh New Year party is pretty much unmatched anywhere. New Year’s Eve in Scotland is such a big deal that we even gave it its own name, Hogmanay. Since 1993 the city has put on events that include live music performances from international artists, a huge torch procession through the city and a jaw-dropping firework display at midnight.
We Scots love a celebration. So the idea of making New Year a one night event was never likely. The first of the three days for Edinburgh Hogmanay begins with a good old Viking invasion. The Torchlight Procession on the 30th December involves thousands of people carrying large torches through the streets of Edinburgh. Leading the march are a troop of Shetland Viking warriors in a re-enactment of centuries past.
Even this is surpassed though by the party that follows 24 hours later. Around 80,000 visit the Street Party at Princes Street every year. They are entertained by live music from top acts in the concert in Princes Street Gardens. The atmosphere on this night is as good as anywhere. The deafening chants of Auld Lang Syne at midnight brings together all of Edinburgh Hogmanay’s multinational visitors in a warm embrace. The magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle adds to this visually spectacular show. Other top spots to watch the fireworks include Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat. It really is an extraordinary time to visit Edinburgh.
Let’s be honest now. Chances are that Hogmanay was not a sober evening for many people. The Edinburgh Hogmanay party takes this thoughtfully into consideration with the Looney Dook on New Years Day. It’s a shockingly sobering activity and it involves frolicking about in the icy cold waters of the River Forth. The weird and wonderful costumes on display add to the hilarity. It’s best not to start a new year taking life too seriously after all.