Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year or New Year’s Eve and is generally regarded as the most important Scottish holiday. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival dates back to 1993 and has evolved to become one of the greatest outdoor celebrations of New Year’s Eve in the world. Hogmanay is technically just one day but the Hogmanay celebration in Edinburgh (as well as in other places in Scotland) lasts for about 3 days. In any normal year the big events include a torchlight procession and other entertainment on December 30th, a massive outdoor street party, concerts, and fireworks on December 31st, and then the Loony Dook (a morning dunk in a river) and smaller public entertainment options on January 1st. Some events may also take place on January 2nd, which is a public holiday in Scotland (but not the rest of the UK).
Regarding the festival’s historical roots, there are numerous theories. However, it’s more likely that the holiday was passed down from the Vikings, who celebrated the shortest day of the year and were practically neighbors to the early Scots. Samhain, which is pronounced “sah-when,” is thought to have pagan origins. During the Protestant Reformation, the festival was suppressed, but it reappeared in the 17th century.
-Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one of the greatest New Year festivities in the world and has been listed as one of the “Top 100 things to do before you die” and most recently the only festival to appear in the “Discovery Channel – Top 25 World Travel Experiences.”
-Join hands with friends from around the world for the largest version of Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes midnight!
-Spend the first day of the new year in Scotland diving into the River Forth’s liberating waters, or travel across Edinburgh in January learning about its incredible cultural past.