UK’s oddest New Year traditions

It’s not always about a traditional celebration with a glass of champagne and Auld Lang Syne to bring in the New Year.

Here’s some of the more odd New Year traditions celebrated across the UK:

1. Bring luck in Scotland

Our hotels in Edinburgh will be full of revellers preparing for the NYE celebrations from Prince’s Street to the Royal Mile but from the stroke of midnight, the Scots enjoy a more unusual way to celebrate.

The tradition of ‘First Footing’ concerns the first person to set foot in your house after the bell chimes midnight. That person (according to folklore) will affect the fortunes of all those concerned in the following year. Strangers are actually supposed to be the luckiest so there’s another great reason to visit this New Year.

2. Famous fireballs of Stonehaven

The old fishing town of Stonehaven has celebrated Hogmanay with Fireballs for over 150 years, and it’s a spectacle you don’t want to miss. The young fishermen of the town used to make fireballs out of old nets and wood, then march through their neighbourhood swinging the large lighted orbs as they went. Naturally, they’d stop off to celebrate with any friends along the way, leaving the fireballs outside the door. Stay at our Travelodge Aberdeen Central hotel and you can drive to Stonehaven in 30 minutes. And don’t miss the raw cliffs of historic Dunnottar Castle just 2 miles south.

Ruins of Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven, Scotland

3. Take the plunge this New Year

Another strange tradition Brits seem set on is the dunking of their bodies in freezing cold water! Over 1,500 people regularly brave the waves in Saundersfoot, while the Scots take part in the “Loony Dook” in the Firth of Forth in Scotland. Stay at our Travelodge Cheltenham hotel, which sees madcap Cheltonians jump in feet first every New Year’s Day.

© Gareth Davies

4. Have a singsong in Wales

In Wales, New Year’s Day or ‘Dydd Calan’ means plenty of neighbourly love and a few sweet treats in the bargain. Children will be up early to visit the other people in their neighbourhood, singing songs to welcome in the New Year. In return, they get money, sweets, apples and mince pies for their troubles – sounds like a good deal to us! Why not see what the country’s capital has to offer this year and book a room at our hotels in Cardiff.

5. Whittlesea Straw Bear

This one takes place on the second weekend of January, it traditionally signalled the start of the farming year. The Whittlesea Straw Bear actually goes back to Old England’s Germanic past, but has been updated into a merrymaking festival in Whittlesey itself. Covered entirely in costumes of straw, dancers used to go house-to-house and the locals would pay the best ‘dancing bear’ in food, beer or money. Our Travelodge Peterborough Central hotel is the perfect location to pop over to Whittlesey market town for the festival.