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Getting To Grips With Hogmanay In Edinburgh

There is no denying Edinburgh is a city famed for its amazing festivals. But there is only one festival that is truly close to a Scots heart, and that is Hogmanay. It’s by far the biggest day in our festive calendar. But what is Hogmanay and why is it such a big deal?

What Is Hogmanay?

Friends celebrating New Year's with a champagne toastSimply put, Hogmanay is the Scottish version of New Year’s Eve. And like all things we Scots do, it is bigger and better. Many believe it originated when those pesky Norse invaders came to shore. But the truth is, the origins of the word “Hogmanay” and the many celebrations that come with it are unclear. The only thing we know for sure, is that Hogmanay makes Christmas in Edinburgh pale by comparison.

What Is The Big Deal?

Torchlight procession in EdinburghBelieve it or not, until very recently, we Scots did not celebrate Christmas. Christmas was effectively banned for 400 years. In fact, it was not until 1958 that Christmas even became a public holiday in Scotland. And it would take almost another 20 years before Boxing was also a festive holiday. So instead of setting up a Christmas tree, roasting turkey and unwrapping presents, we celebrated Hogmanay instead.

Celebrating Hogmanay In Edinburgh

People enjoying a New Year's Eve partySince Hogmanay literally had to make up for missing Christmas, the Hogmanay Festival is a three-day-long festival of torchlight processions, unbelievable street parties and an awesome pyrotechnic display.

On 30th December, the festivities get underway with the annual Torchlight Procession from the historic Royal Mile all the way up to Calton Hill. And since Calton Hill is literally next-door to us at Parliament House Hotel, joining in the fun could not be easier.

Fireworks over Edinburgh CastleOn 31st December, Princes Street comes alive with the world-famous Concert and Street Party. As the clock strikes twelve, an amazing midnight firework display is launched from Edinburgh Castle, arms are linked and Auld Lang Syne can be heard from miles around.

Finally, on 1st January we make our way to the Firth of Forth to mark the New Year with the annual Loony Dook – a bizarre New Year tradition where you plunge yourself into the freezing cold water (often dressed in something equally bizarre).

So now you know what Hogmanay is, our favourite traditions and some interesting facts about Scottish history. Is it any wonder celebrating New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh is at the top of so many bucket lists? So, why not check out our Hogmanay packages and be part of the action this year!

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