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Between the 29th December 2013 and 2nd January 2014 I was back in Scotland. I had an invitation by the guys from Hogmanay and immediately knew that I wanted to be part of it. Hogmanay is a festival that is celebrated every year from the 30th December until the 1st of January. Hogmanay is Scottish and means last day of the year.

Celebrating Scottish style

I’ve celebrated New Years Eve all over the world, but so far it hasn’t been as much fun as in Edinburgh. The last days of the year are fully organized with events, parades and ceremonies and some stunning fireworks. This year they started a smaller firework at 20:14 to welcome the year of #Homecoming2014. We really had a good time being in the crowds which, surprisingly are very calm.

Torchlight Procession

On the 30th December we had the opportunity to walk the torchlight procession. MINDBLOWING!

Seriously, the torchlight procession is just incredible. Tens of thousands of Edinburghians and tourists from all over the world buy a torch and walk from the Highstreet via Princess Street to Calton Hill, an incredible scene from within and outside the crowd. The reception is lead by about a dozen loud vikings with big flaming torches and by pipers and drummers. The best thing about it, it’s totally free! No passes, no registration, nothing!

If you want to walk in the crowd with a torch yourself, you can buy them for 8 GBP in advance or for 10 GBP at the event. The money raised goes to charity!

The Fireball Ceremony of Stonehaven

While they have organized a huge party in Edinburgh for the actual New Years Eve, we decided to go a little bit “Off The Path” and made our way to Stonehaven, a little town 18 miles (30 minutes) south of Aberdeen.

Stonehaven is known for its fireball swingers. Every new years eve at midnight, they start swinging their fireballs through the streets of Stonehaven and end the ceremony by throwing the glowing fireballs into the harbour while a huge firework is displayed in the background. If you have the chance, stay at the harbor for great views!

The idea behind the ceremony is to burn off the bad spirits left from the old year so that the spirits of the New Year can come in clean and fresh. The whole event lasts for about 25 to 30 minutes and at 12:30 A.M. the whole thing is done and people start to go home. Within minutes, the small town goes back to its original state and people disappear from the streets.

This Hogmanay was awesome

This end of the year was all about fire. And I loved it, I’ve seen some incredible fireworks in Edinburgh and great fire shows in Edinburgh and Stonehaven. I love fire, I think it’s something incredible, so destructive and creative at the same time like at the torchlight procession and the fireball ceremony. I loved my end of the year in Scotland and hope to go back in the future to experience the great street party in Edinburgh on New Years Eve! Have you ever heard or attended Hogmanay? Will you consider it in the future? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Sebastian Canaves
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