Christmas has always been considered as the biggest festival worldwide, but for Scots, the New Year has always been a more important celebration than Christmas especially because of the enormous Hogmanay celebrations that engulf Edinburgh.
It’s long been tradition for people to gather in the streets of towns, cities and villages all over the Scotland on 31 December to wish each other New Year and to knock back a dram or six to keep the cold at bay. In 1993 Edinburgh’s city council had the idea of spicing up Hogmanay by organising some events, laying on some live music in Princes St and issuing an open invitation to the rest of the world. In a short few years, Hogmanay became the world’s most prominent New Year celebration as well as Europe’s biggest winter festival, attracting more than 250,000 party punters.
Hogmanay events begin on 29 December with a free procession. With participants carrying flaming torches, the parade proceeds along the Royal Mile and onto Calton Hill, where a replica Viking longship is set alight. You can purchase a torch to carry in the parade, though you’ll need to pick up a voucher ahead of time to claim one. The following night – 30 December – is the suitably titled as ‘Night Afore’, featuring a vivid street arts carnival and more live music for you to tap your feets at. New Year’s Eve is when Hogmanay truly explodes into life, with Edinburgh’s city centre becoming a huge street party where you can dance, sing, drink and don a kilt to see in the coming year. Truly, no one celebrates Hogmanay like Scots!