Hogmanay! Edinburgh’s Wild and Wonderful Way to Bring in the New Year – Featuring, Pigs?


Those who have been fortunate enough to actually experience New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh will be familiar with the term ‘Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’. Everyone else will be wondering what on earth this somewhat bizarre word is. Does it conjour up images of large pigs?!

Well, Hogmanay is quite simply a Scottish word for what the rest of the English speaking world refers to as New Year’s Eve!

Compared to the rest of the United Kingdom, the Scots traditionally take Hogmanay more seriously (or less seriously depending on your viewpoint!) than our British brothers and sisters. Not only do we tend to organise extravagant, manic street parties and jaw-dropping firework displays, there are also a number of customs attached to the traditional celebration of Hogmanay in Scotland.

The custom of ‘first-footing’ has been around for hundreds of years Happy New Year 2018 Wallpapers. If you happen to be celebrating Hogmanay at home with friends and family, you should head next door to your neighbour’s house just after ‘the bells’ (midnight).

If your neighbour is still compos mentis after all the beer and scotch whisky, he or she will open the door and you will officially be the ‘first foot’ of the New Year.

After enjoying a drink and a chat with your neighbour, you should carry on up the street, chapping on each house as you go, spending time with your neighbours and wishing them the best of luck for the New Year.

If your ‘first footer’ happens to be tall, dark and handsome (and carrying a crate of ale…), you can look forward to a year of luck, love and happiness. Or so the story goes…

Many Scots choose to bring in the New Year by attending a ‘ceilidh’ (pronounced – ‘kaylay’). Once again, what on earth is that?! Well, Ceilidh is a Scottish Gaelic word for a traditional Scottish dancing party.

Imagine a couple of hundred Scots in a long hall, half of them wearing long pretty dresses and the other half wearing kilts and sporting impressive beer-bellies, throw in a few hundred kilos of Haggis and lashings of potato and turnip, and you have the setting for a traditional Scottish Ceilidh.

At the far end of the hall you will find a string band playing traditional, fast-paced, Scottish songs. It is also the job of the band to lead the dances by explaining the steps; although most people learn by giving it a go, making a tonne of mistakes and trampling on a few dozen toes!

A Ceilidh is a loud, spirited and truly captivating affair, fuelled by the intake of several hundred calories and the odd drink or two. Even the shy and uncertain amongst you couldn’t avoid being carried away by the incredibly sociable atmosphere!

Nevertheless, New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh is set apart from the pretenders to the throne by the bold and quite brilliant Edinburgh’s Hogmanay extravaganza.

Believe it or not, the party actually begins on the 30th of December with the traditional Torchlight Procession from The Royal Mile up to the top of Calton Hill. Whether you choose to purchase one of the torches (£6) and take part in the procession, or simply choose to look on as the crowds cut a line of fire through the very heart of the city, it is certainly a heart-warming experience.

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