Hogmanay Events - Page 2


Aberdeen Union Street An innovation for December 2000 is an ice rink in the city centre. This got off to a bad start however - despite its northerly location and those cold winds whipping in from the North Sea, there have been problems with the ice melting due to the exceptionally mild weather for the time of year.

Although there are fireworks at midnight in the city centre there are few other official events - reinforcing its (usually unjustified) for being careful with the "bawbees", the city claims to be short of cash and cannot afford to pay for the security staff to police any extra celebrations.

The traditional fire festival of the "Burning of the Clavie" takes place in this Moray coast town. But it takes place on January 11th, the old date for Hogmanay before the calendar changed in 1600. An iron-hooped whisky barrel, covered in creosote, is nailed to a carrying post and lit by peat from the hearth of a Burghead Provost (mayor). The burning clavie is then carried round the streets of the town before going to a stone altar in an old fort on the ancient Doorie Hill. More fuel is added, creating a beacon on top of the hill.

The small Perthshire town will have its traditional "Flambeaux Procession" - a torchlight march through the village with the torches at the end of long birch poles.

Fort William
The local mountain of Ben Nevis will see the start of the celebrations in this west coast town when a beacon is lit at sunset on the top of the mountain. In the town itself there will be carol singing in Cameron Square and dancing to a Ceilidh Band - till 6am on 1 January, if you can last that long.

The capital of the Highlands is boasting a "reel" Highland Hogmanay with traditional music (lots of "hoochs" and hollers). A late license for pubs and restaurants means there will be a real tartan tear-up. Plenty of traditional ceilidhs (Gaelic for "a visit" but now synonymous with an energetic party with music and dancing). But the highlight of the festivities in the "capital of the Highlands" will be "Riverlights" along the River Ness at 5.30pm. It is sponsored by the Millennium Commission and the organisers say it will be like "thousands of stars falling from the clear skies". Last year there was a wellie-throwing competition (yes, that's wellington boots!).

In Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, there is a New Year Ba' Game held in the streets of the town which can last most of January 1st, between the Uppies and the Doonies, or more correctly, "Up-the-Gates" and "Doon-the-Gates" from Old Norse "gata" (path or road).

This Morayshire coastal town is having a community celebration with a torchlight procession, lantern and firework festival and what is described as "entertainment by local talent."

Despite Oban's reputation for high levels of rainfall, they are planning a street party here with music, pipe bands and dancing. A firework display will be set off in a vessel moored in Oban Bay.

Shetland Islands
The northern island of Yell has the traditional burning of the Burravoe Tar Barrel on 28th December.
The main celebration in Shetlands, however is on the last Tuesday of January with Up-Helly-aa (literally, the end of the holy days). Held in Lerwick, a full sized Viking Galley, complete with shields and oars is pulled by a torch-bearing procession dressed as Viking warriors to the beach. Guizer Jarl calls for three cheers for the builders of the longship and after a bugle call, the galley is set alight by 800 blazing torches.

Just south of Aberdeen, Stonehaven will host the traditional Fireball Ceremony, where large fireballs are lit and swung round and round on long wires. This is supposed to frighten off the evil spirits - not the audience. Dating back to pagan times, the fireball is said to mimic a shooting star which brought good crops. The round balls, twice as big as a soccer ball, weigh up to 20 pounds, are swung by up to 60 men from the Burgh of Stonehaven, as they march up and down the High street. Last year, for the first time, women were allowed to swing the fireballs and gave a good account of themselves on national TV.

Previous page Lowlands > Page 1, 2

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line