With buzzing street parties, traditional Scottish ceilidhs and dazzling firework displays popping up across the city, there’s something for everyone at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. If you’re heading there this New Year’s Eve, prepare for an abundance of tartan and whisky…
What is Hogmanay?
Hogmanay – the Scots’ word for December 31 – is the three-day festival synonymous with New Year’s Eve celebrations in Scotland. Its origins date back to the winter solstice festival celebrated by the Vikings in late December, and like most Scottish holidays it goes hand in hand with countless customs. The one that’s practised most widely is first-footing: a tradition which involves bee lining for the homes of family and friends bearing gifts the moment the clock strikes midnight, setting a positive precedent for the new year.
What’s On in Edinburgh?
Hogmanay is celebrated throughout Scotland, but capital city Edinburgh is the central hub of revelry. Every year around 150,000 people attend Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities, which run from 30 December – 1 January. So what’s in store this year?
- Torchlight Procession: The festival kicks off with a procession of torchbearers weaving through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, down the Royal Mile, around the Scottish Parliament and culminating in the historic Holyrood Park. On reaching the Park, torchbearers will take part in a spectacular visual display, creating the shape of Scotland’s distinctive outline. As part of #ScotArt, a nationwide youth engagement project marking the Year of Young People 2018, 14 wicker sculptures will then be placed within the outline and set ablaze, each representing one of Scotland’s regions.
- Symphonic Ibiza: Set in the grand McEwan Hall, Symphonic Ibiza is a unique two-hour concert, featuring some of the most famous Ibiza club anthems fused with a live 20 piece orchestra. Tickets from £33, book
Concert in the Gardens: Franz Ferdinand are headlining this year’s Concert in the Gardens, which takes place in the iconic West Prices Street Gardens. Tickets from £65, book
Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker: Ring in 2019 at Edinburgh’s annual New Year’s Eve street party, complete with live music, DJs and street performers from Scotland and mainland Europe. This year’s line up includes appearances from Gerry Cinnamo, DJ Judge Jules, as well as Meute, Vistas, Elephant Sessions, Miracle Glass Company, Trendy Wendy and hosts The Mac Twins. Guests can also attend a silent disco, which takes place on Market Street. Bonus: every reveller (over 18s only with ID) will be treated to a complimentary dram of Johnnie Walker Whisky to ring in the New Year! Tickets cost £31pp. From 7.30pm to the early hours, book
Bairns Afore: A popular family event, Bairns Afore invites children to enjoy live music and dancing, with sing-a-long favourites including Queen, Abba, hits from The Greatest Showman and Disney classics from Frozen and The Lion King. At 6pm visitors can enjoy a dazzling firework display over Edinburgh Castle. Tickets from £8.50, book
Ceilidh under the Castle: Whirl, jig or dance the night away under the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh castle at a traditional Scottish ceilidh. With plenty of local food, drink and live ceildh bands, a huge firework display, it’s a pretty special way to ring in the new year. Tickets from £60, book
Loony Dook: Come New Year’s Day in Edinburgh, brave locals shake off their hangovers by jumping into the freezing Firth of Forth at South Queensferry. Many dippers wear fancy dress, while others are fully clothed from the night before – but everyone is there to raise money for charity.
Capercaillie and Special Guests: A traditional Scottish knees-up is taking place in McEwan Hall throughout the afternoon, with performances from folk band Capercaillie along with a set of guest musicians. From 4.30pm. Tickets from £28, book
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READ MORE: Best Places to Spend NYE Around the World
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