Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland

If you want to welcome New Year with a blast, join the Hogmanay in Edinburgh and be a part of this unique festivity. Dubbed as the world’s most exciting New Year celebrations (By the Scottish of course), this four-day event promises a fun and traditional celebration you won’t find anywhere else. The event’s highlight is the famous Street Party and the breathtaking fireworks display. Here’s our guide to New Years Even in Edinburgh.

The History of Hogmanay

Hogmanay is Scotland’s very own version of New Year, the term itself means “last day of the year” in Scots although it’s origins aren’t fully known. The event is normally the commencement of a celebration which lasts through the night until New Year’s Day, sometimes even extending until 2nd January, which is a Scottish Bank Holiday.

Hogmanay was first observed by the Norse, as a celebration of the winter solstice. It was later observed by the Gaelic as part of the Samhain. In the age of Vikings, Hogmanay was celebrated in commemoration of the Yule, which later became part of the Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Daft Days in Scotland. During the Protestant Reformation, the winter festival was discontinued, only to resurrect in the 17th century. The traditions of hogmanay are both ancient and modern.

Torchlight Procession

Join the Scots as they warmly welcome Hogmanay in Edinburgh with the Torchlight Procession passing through the historic city center and making a glowing “river of fire” indeed a spectacle to behold!

Steep with history and tradition, the Torchlight Procession highlights the reenactment of the past, where noisy, hairy Vikings and Highlanders are seen dragging a warship and leading more than 15,000 torch-bearing locals while on their way from the historic Parliament Square through the ancient Edinburgh meeting place called Calton Hill.

Street Party and Fireworks Display

The street party and fireworks display is the most anticipated part of the Hogmanay in Edinburgh. This lively gathering of some 100,000 cheering locals and tourists takes the length of the entire Princes Street. Live bands playing are all over the place while the dancing and cheering crowds join hand in hand with theatre troupes. It’s quite a sight.

Be at Princes Street before 9pm because once the stages and screens go live, you’ll find it harder to get through the jam-packed streets. You can bring your drinks but don’t bring them in cans and glass containers, although there are bars and food outlets scattered through the street party area. By 11pm, the street is already closed so you’ll need to be in position ready for midnight.

The street party reaches its climax when midnight strikes and a studied and colorful fireworks display takes the scene above the sky of Edinburgh Castle and from Calton Hill. Take in the excitement as you welcome the New Year while joining the crowd in singing Auld Lang Syne. For lovers and couples, nothing could be sweeter than joining the kissathon after this. Then, it’s party time once more until the wee hours all over the city.

Other Hogmanay events

Hogmanay in Edinburgh officially closes with the New Year Sprint, an open 110m race. Be a part of the event that traces its rich and active history way back to 1870 and boasts of its handicap starting system with professional and amateur sprinters converging to out-race one another for a grand prize and a trophy. It’s a popular event on New Years Day and s held at Musselburgh Racecourse, about 6 miles east of Edinburgh.

Join Hogmanay

Tickets and registration for all Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events are available at the events website. To receive information on on-sale dates and artist announcements, visit edinburghshogmanay.org to register and get discounts.