Hogmanay - Edinburgh 2004

One of the Best Festivals in Europe
Fireworks Although the Glaswegians may not agree, there is only one place to celebrate the New Year and that's at the home of Hogmanay - Edinburgh. New Year has always been much more than an excuse to have a party for the Scots. While other cities across Scotland celebrate Hogmanay with music and firework parties, Edinburgh has created a special four-day festival leading directly on from Edinburgh's Winter Wonderland fun-for-the-family events around Christmas.

The website Local Festivities has rated Edinburgh's Hogmanay as one of the best festivals in Europe. It is number 5 in the top 50 European festivities. And it is listed in the book, "100 things to do Before You Die."

Torchlight Procession
Torchlight Procession

The celebrations start with a Torchlight Procession on December 29th, when a longboat carried by Shetland Vikings is followed by around 12,000 torch bearers, carrying a torch for charity, snaking through the city down the Royal Mile. The procession culminates with setting the longboat alight on a giant bonfire on Calton Hill.

Night Afore Fiesta
Macbeth The Night Afore Fiesta on 30 December, is a fantastic carnival of street theatre, music, Scottish Country dancing, Ceilidh band, food and drink. This year it was called The Night Afore International based on the theme of Entente Cordiale, the Auld Alliance, linking the cultural history between France and Scotland. There were nine theatre, dance and comedy performers from Nantes, Evian, Aix en Provence, Lyon, Brittany and Paris.

Macbeth - In French and English
Macbeth A highlight of the entertainment was a spectacular production of Macbeth by Friche Theatre Urban. Performed in French and English, with dramatic music accompaniment, the actors marched along George Street on high stilts, their red tartan coats flying in the breeze. Despite a light rain and chilly December night, the large audience, with many children, loved the show and followed them in promenade fashion up and down the street.

Royal Bank of Scotland Street Party
Hogmanay Street Party On Hogmanay, The Royal Bank Street Party is the main event when Princes Street and the Castle become the backdrop to a fantastic international street party for 100,000 people who have been fortunate to obtain a ticket A further 8,000 had tickets for The Concert in the Gardens featuring, direct from New York, Scissor Sisters and Blondie. Legendary singer Debbie Harry, looking fabulous is tartan, wowed the crowd with a bunch of favourite hit songs, Denis Denis and The Tide is High.

Amid the party celebrations to welcome the new year it was important to think and reflect on recent world events. There was a one-minute silence at 10.45pm to pay respect to the victims and survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami with a collection for the disaster appeal.

Fireworks at the Castle Fireworks
And then at the countdown to midnight a magical burst of fireworks swooshed and swirled, criss crossing in a blaze of white light high into the night sky above the castle. Fireworks are set off from seven hills around the city for all to enjoy- the Castle as well as Calton Hill, Arthur's Seat, Corstorphine hill, Braid Hill, Blackford Hill and Craigmillar Hill.

As visitors to Edinburgh commented, "it's the most exciting, friendly, perfect way to see in another year and I guarantee that once you've been you'll never want to spend another New Year elsewhere."

The Lord Provost Lesley Hinds was there on Friday night and was equally impressed with such a wonderful event to show off the city of Edinburgh: "Our Hogmanay celebrations are internationally renowned and this year we really showed the world how to party."

More Information
For more information on Edinburgh and it's festive events, see:

Vivien Devlin

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line