Why would you choose a New Year break in Scotland? Well, no other nation in the world celebrates the New Year with quite as much revelry and passion as Scotland does, and it's hardly surprising that the enormous celebration that engulfs the country is legendary the world over.

Hogmanay is what we Scots call New Year's Eve - 31 December - the big night that marks the arrival of the new year. Its origins reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Vikings with wild parties in late December.

But whatever the scale of the event and wherever it's held, Scotland's Hogmanay celebrations guarantee a warm welcome and more new friends than you ever knew you had, all in a frenzy of goodwill! For an unforgettable Hogmanay break, it's got to be Scotland.

Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Three days of fantastic atmosphere and unforgettable memories. It must be experienced to be believed!

30 December - Torchlight procession

Torchlight Procession

Join the revellers and get the party started! In Scotland, New Year's carousing gets underway when thousands of torch-bearers join Up Helly Aa's Vikings, pipes and drums. Together, they march through the heart of Edinburgh with flaming torches, creating a river of fire from the historic Royal Mile to the son et lumiére and fireworks finale on Calton Hill that wonderfully illuminates the city.

31 December - Hogmanay Street Party

Princes Street welcomes the merrymakers to one of the greatest events on the planet (and we mean it!). Set beneath the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, dance the night away at the Concert in the Gardens featuring incredible live music, entertainment, DJs, giant screens, and outdoor bars.

As the bells strike midnight, admire the world-famous Edinburgh Hogmanay Midnight Fireworks on the castle ramparts. And make sure you don't leave before Auld Lang Syne - a national sing-along where you join hands with friends you just met from across the globe in its biggest rendition in the world.

1 January - The Loony Dook

Loony Dook

And if you need something to clear your head the morning after, why not take part in the (literally) breathtaking Loony Dook, the annual splash in the River Forth at South Queensferry? Take part in the Dookers Parade through the High Street before taking the plunge in the freezing Forth with the iconic Forth Bridges as a backdrop. And don't forget your fancy dress! Or you could just sleep in.

EDINBURGH'S HOGMANAY
CERTAINLY SHOWS THE WORLD
HOW TO PARTY!

Hogmanay traditions

There are many old Hogmanay rituals and customs that are celebrated in Scotland to this day. The origins of many of them are unknown, but many are believed to bring good luck for the New Year.

  • First-footing - to ensure good luck, the first foot to arrive in your house on New Year's Day should be a dark-haired male (believed to be a throwback to Viking days when blonde strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble). The first-footer should also bring symbolic gifts, such as coal, shortbread, salt, black buns or whisky, to ensure good fortune for the year ahead.
  • Clean the house - to begin the New Year with an unclean house is considered bad luck. Houses used to be cleared throughout to welcome the New Year into a tidy and neat house, including taking out the ashes from the fire in the days when coal fires were common.
  • Clear your debts - an old superstition states that you should try to clear all your debts before the stroke of midnight.
  • Sing Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne after midnight - this custom is a staple of Hogmanay parties across the country (and many countries around the world too!). After the bells at midnight, join in a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne to start the New Year in real Scottish style.

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