Hogmanay is back – your guide to Scotland’s New Year celebration

If you’re looking to rock out and celebrate this New Year in style, then look no further. The Scottish tradition of Hogmanay is an event full of celebration, culture, and of course fireworks!

So if you want to attend an event across Scotland this December, then we’ve got a guide for you with everything you need to know about the tradition.

What is Hogmanay?

New Year’s Eve is a well-known event for people all over the world. Full of partying, glitz, glamour and celebrations, you will find plenty of fun things to do all across the UK. But in Scotland, this period is referred to as Hogmanay and is a 3-day celebration beginning on the last day of December till the 2nd of January. The event was popularised in the Viking era to mark the arrival of the winter solstice. Scotland also has two bank holidays; instead of 1 like the rest of the UK, to celebrate this cultural tradition. Lots of old traditions and rituals are celebrated in Scotland during this time and many believe that they bring good luck for the New Year.

What are the traditions?

First Footing – To ensure good luck, the first foot to arrive at your doorstep on New Year’s Day would traditionally be a black-haired male (which is a throwback to Viking traditions) but now in the more modern celebrations, it is usually family or friends. They should bring gifts such as coal, shortbread, salt, black buns or whiskey to ensure good fortune for the year ahead.

Clean the house – Having an untidy house at the start of the New Year is considered bad luck. People would clear their homes in the run-up to the Hogmanay celebrations, including clearing out ash from the fire when coal fires were popularized.

Clear your debts – This is an old superstition that you should try and clear all debts by the stroke of midnight to ensure your new year remains smooth sailing.

Sing Auld Lang Syne – This is popular all over the UK, but the tradition is rooted in the celebrations of Hogmanay. The song is a staple of parties all across Scotland, and after the chime of midnight, everyone will join in a rendition of the song to start the New Year in style.

Fire at Hogmanay – It is a tradition to have fire at your Hogmanay celebration. At many of the larger celebrations, there will be torchlight processions through the town to pay homage to the history, and on some occasions, you will see kilted men swinging fireballs around in their parade.

Where can I celebrate it?

Hogmanay celebrations take place all around Scotland, with the popular ones usually taking place in major cities and towns. Whatever the weather, the events offer everyone a warm welcome and celebration to be had. Enjoy the three days of amazing atmosphere Scotland has to offer!

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Edinburgh

Edinburgh celebrates Hogmanay bigger and better than you could ever imagine! Events span over the three days such as a Candlelit Concert at St Giles’s Cathedral for those that want a quieter celebration, or the Concert in the Gardens featuring pop artists to headline including PULP on the 31st. The biggest and best event is the Street party held down Princes Street, with partying right into the New Year and crowds singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight. If you’re looking for big, then look no further.

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Hogmanay Ceilidh, Aberdeen

If you’re looking for a more traditional approach to Hogmanay, then why not try the Aberdeen Hogmanay Ceilidh. Organised by the city council, the event brings in the New Year perfectly with traditional music from Hipflask Ceilidh Band. Once the clock strikes midnight, it’s celebrations all around with stovies and a glass of fizz at the bells. This event is held at the Beach Ballroom, just minutes away from Aberdeen Beach.

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Red Hot Highland Fling, Inverness

Every year, people from all over the world travel to the Highlands to celebrate Hogmanay. The event’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, with popular names and faces featuring on stage at this celebration. Hosted once again at the Northern Meeting Park, the event promises to be full of family-friendly celebrations and festivities. Headlined by one of Scotland’s finest Ceilidh bands Highland Fire, attendees can sing and dance the night away whilst enjoying the best of Scotland’s traditional music scene. Plus, the fireworks are set off at midnight, making for an incredible start to the New Year.

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