Celebrate New Year with Hogmanay in Scotland

Events, New Year, Seasonal

There are countless ways to bring in the New Year but if you’re looking for something a little different then celebrate Hogmanay-style!

Gather up the family in one of our cosy Scotland cottages and see in the New Year against the beautiful backdrop of the rocky Scottish terrain. Discover some of the country’s ancient New Year traditions and enjoy some of the more recent editions to the celebrations!

What is Hogmanay?

Putting the vibrant street parties, extravagant events and fire festival aside there is a long and ancient history of Hogmanay. With the banning of Christmas from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s, New Year’s Eve became the perfect opportunity for the Scots to let off a bit of steam, enjoy some whisky and party into the night, chasing away the year behind them. Today Hogmanay is celebrated through three days of festivities across the whole of Scotland.

Torch and bonfire ceremonies

Image: Brendan Campbell, CC 2.0

You won’t believe your eyes at some of Scotland’s exuberant fire festivals and that’s exactly why you need to experience one for yourself. Believed to be part of the pagan origins in Scotland, the use of fire is suggested to purify and drive away evil spirits. One of the most spectacular ceremonies takes places just south of Aberdeen in Stonehaven and sees 40 people swinging balls of burning material around their heads. Whilst it might sound a little frightening, the ceremony has been taking place for hundreds of years and attracts spectators from far and wide. Starting at midnight, the procession lasts for around 25 minutes.

The Kirkwall Ba’

There might not be any balls of fire flying around in Orkney but there is a ‘Ba’, a handmade, cork-filled, leather ball. On New Year’s Day the ancient tradition sees homeowners and shopkeepers gather for a mass-football game in the winding central streets of Kirkwall. Those born to the north of the Cathedral become the Doonies team and those born to the south are the Uppies and together they siege through the streets for hours of a rough and tumble rugby-like style game. If you’re spending a quiet New Year break nearby, why not pop to the town and experience the competitive atmosphere for yourself? You never know, you might want to join in!

Edinburgh Hogmanay

As one of the world’s biggest and best New Year celebrations in the world, Edinburgh Hogmanay is guaranteed to be a New Year celebration to remember.  As you wait for the clock to strike 12, enjoy the German Market, big wheel, the outdoor ice rink, a torchlight procession, various outdoor concerts and of course that all important Midnight Moment. As the bells chime and the crowds cheer, a spectacular firework display lights up the stunning city of Edinburgh and everyone joins together to welcome in the New Year by singing Auld Lang Syne.

If you are feeling a bit worse for wear on New Year’s Day, clear your head by taking part in the Loony Dook or Dooker Parade, where you will end up in the freezing waters of the River Forth in the shadow of the iconic Forth Bridges. For years, people have taken part in this event to raise money for charities across the UK, often in fancy dress.

Why is Scotland a good choice for New Year?

Whether you want to revel in the bustling Edinburgh streets, witness a remarkable fire display or you want to cosy up on the edge of Galloway Forest Park in one of our cottages in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland knows how to do New Year. Grab your loved ones and experience the hustle and bustle or avoid the street parties and spend the New Year exploring the beauty of rural Scotland. We have a selection of cosy Scotland cottages, so take a look and find the perfect base for your New Year break.

View our holiday cottages in Scotland

Posted by Ed on 20th October 2017