Monday, 30 December 2019

SIH Guide to a Hair-Raising Hogmanay



Hogmanay is the winter festival where Scotland comes into its own.  It’s so much more than a New Year celebration, it’s a very big deal in Scotland.

Take Edinburgh.  This historic city celebrates Hogmanay with a three-day festival, starting with a torchlight procession on 30th December lead by real Vikings (or as near as) from the Royal Mile to Carlton Hill.  The next day is devoted to the street party with concerts, ceilidhs and fireworks galore.  Followed by a traditional dunk in the icy Forth the next day, known as the Loony Dook, for the bravest of visitors and locals.
The Loony Dook, New Year's Day

Other Traditions:

First-Footing - After the stroke of midnight, friends and neighbours visit each other, with gifts such as shortbread or a lump of coal. In return they are given a wee dram to toast the New Year. It signifies your fortunes for the coming year.

Redding the House – A big clean up before new year, clearing away evil spirits and Christmas debris at the same time!

Fire Festivals – If the cleaning doesn’t get rid of the evil spirits, a giant bonfire and firelight procession might do the trick.  The Stonehaven Fireballs festival (south of Aberdeen) is one of the most dramatic.
Stonehaven Fireballs Festival

Auld Lang Syne – Singing Robert Burns’ poem is an essential part of the celebrations. No miming, here are the words.
And you need to get physical, the singing is accompanied by a linking of arms which cross each singer’s chest.

Irn Bru – the traditional Scottish hangover cure.



Images courtesy of Visit Scotland.

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