Edinburgh's Hogmanay New Years Celebration is recognised globally as the Home of Hogmanay. Again this year Edinburgh will see thousands of revelers take to the streets to say goodbye to 2013 with spectacular mix of live music stages, giant screens and the incredible Edinburgh's Hogmanay Fireworks, which sees 4.5 tonnes of pyrotechnics light up the Edinburgh sky and signal the arrival of 2014.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay ... The World's Best New Year Celebrations!
Why Edinburgh's Hogmanay for New Years Eve Celebrations
Recognised globally as the home of Hogmanay Edinburgh annually holds one of the world's biggest New Year celebrations. Thousands of people descend upon the old streets of central Edinburgh for a massive party of music, revelry and one of the world's great fireworks displays with famous Edinburgh castle as a backdrop.
The local Scottish take New Year so seriously that not only is the 1st January a public holiday but they also take off the 2nd to get over the new years street celebrations.
The volume of people that head to Edinburgh each year has become so great that some years back the local council had to make the huge street party a ticket only event. If you are headed to Edinburgh make sure you have a street pass or if doing an inclusive tour that the street party pass is included.
What is Hogmanay
While New Year's Eve is celebrated around the world, the Scots have a long rich heritage associated with this event - and have their own name for it, Hogmanay.
There are many theories about the derivation of the word "Hogmanay". The Scandinavian word for the feast preceding Yule was "Hoggo-nott" while the Flemish words (many have come into Scots) "hoog min dag" means "great love day". Hogmanay could also be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon, Haleg monath, Holy Month, or the Gaelic, oge maidne, new morning. But the most likely source seems to be the French. "Homme est ne" or "Man is born" while in France the last day of the year when gifts were exchanged was "aguillaneuf" while in Normandy presents given at that time were "hoguignetes". Take your pick!
It may not be widely known but Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s. The reason for this has its roots in the Protestant Reformation when the Kirk portrayed Christmas as a Popish or Catholic feast and therefore had to be banned. Many Scots had to work over Christmas and their winter solstice holiday was therefore at New Year when family and friends gathered for a party and exchange presents, especially for the children, which came to be called hogmanay.
There are traditions before midnight such as cleaning the house on 31st December (including taking out the ashes from the fire in the days when coal fires were common). There is also the superstition to clear all your debts before "the bells" at midnight.
Hogmanay Street Party Tickets
As the length and breadth of Princes Street and the Gardens come alive with festivities, around 100,000 revellers will gather to bring in 2014 in style. One of the world's biggest outdoor parties means that the local council has to limit the number of people who can get in. Some years back they introduced Street Party Passes (wristband). You must have a street party pass to enter the huge Princes St Edinburgh New Years Eve party. Princes St is blocked off at dusk on December 31 in an effort to control numbers. Only those with official passes (wristbands) will be allowed entry.
If you are doing an organised tour like those listed on the left you will often find that the official Street Party Pass is included as part of the tour. If you are making your own way to Edinburgh then you will have to get hold of your own Street Party Pass via edinburghshogmanay.com.
"Auld Lang Syne"
The Hogmanay custom of singing "Auld Lang Syne" has become common in many countries. "Auld Lang Syne" is a traditional poem reinterpreted by Robert Burns, which was later set to music. It is now common for this to be sung in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight for New Year's Day, although in Scotland the traditional practice is to cross arms only for the last verse.
Torch and Bonfire Ceremonies
The magical Firework display and torchlight procession in Edinburgh - and throughout many cities in Scotland - is reminiscent of the ancient custom at Scottish Hogmanay pagan parties hundreds of years ago.
The traditional New Year ceremony of yesteryear would involve people dressing up in the hides of cattle and running around the village being hit by sticks. The festivities would also include the lighting of bonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels down the hill and tossing torches. Animal hide was also wrapped around sticks and ignited which produced a smoke that was believed to be very effective to ward off evil spirits. The smoking stick was also known as a Hogmanay.
Some of these customs do continue, especially in the small, older communities in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland where tradition, along with language and dialect are kept alive and well.
Edinburgh Accommodation at Hogmanay
Tour and Accommodation Options Coming Soon