Hogmanay Festival

Hogmanay Festival

A pagan tradition of New Year’s, with plenty of music and fire.

Hogmanay is a way for those taking a visit to Scotland during the time of New Year’s to celebrate the holiday in a new and unique way.  As can be expected, it takes place on December 31st every year and is honored in many places throughout the country.  Hogmanay’s traditions are taken from Viking roots, incorporating pagan practices associated with worship of the sun and fire.  Over the years, this holiday has gone through many incarnations, eventually evolving into what it is today.

Despite its differences, Hogmanay has most of your typical New Year’s stuff going on, such as drinking, eating and partying 'til dawn.  It starts up in the early evening and continues through the night (and into the morning for those with enough endurance).  There also is the standard singing of Auld Lang Syne when the clock strikes midnight.  The rest of the festivities depend on which region of Scotland you happen to be in when the event is taking place.

Some of the more common events on the list are the singing of folk songs, dancing, processions of torch bearers, swinging balls of fire around from the ends of chains, bonfires and various concerts.  Edinburgh boasts the best-known of these festivals and features such iconic events as The Loony Dock - in which people in fancy dress take a nice winter swim in the middle of the half-frozen river - and The Keilidh - a giant outdoor dance floor set up just for Hogmanay.

If you want to experience New Year’s in Scotland, the biggest of the celebrations occur in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  This festive ringing in of the New Year is a great way to meet the people of Scotland while dancing, drinking and having fun.  Who knows?  You might even get lucky and earn yourself a midnight kiss from a Scot.