Hogmanay // New Year Scottish Way

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Truth is, when me and Alle found out we were going to have one week more of holiday than expected, we faced a horrible dilemma: where should we go? Should we even go anywhere or save for another, longer travel in 2015? After long hours of discussion we ended up with two choices – Marrakech or Edinburgh, same thing basically. Let’s say I was much more leaning on the former. Nothing wrong with Edinburgh, I always wanted to see it, I just reeeeeaaallly needed some sun.

Then we found out about Hogmanay. And I was convinced into a small road trip to Scotland and back – when have I ever said no to a roadtrip?

20141230_114823Hogmanay is a traditional Scottish New Year celebration that goes back centuries ago to its pagan origins. Lasting a few days every year, it usually involves lots of fireworks, a torchlight ceremony, Auld Lang Syne sang out loud, a new year plunge in fancy dresses and a tall dark man to be the first who steps into your home after midnight.

You know, for good luck.

(I am keeping it extremely simple, but if you’d like to know more click here on this website)

Nowadays it has become a proper festival of extravaganza that attracts thousands of people from all over the world.

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Divided into three days, it starts off with the Torchlight Procession on Dec. 30th.
The only time before this that I’ve seen a crowd in streets waving torches on fire in the air was when I watched Frankenstein. It did have a sort of magic to it, reason why I stuck till the end to see the fireworks show, and I was so surprised my coat didn’t burn! (I must admit my choice of coat wasn’t the most fit for the occasion and I got extremely lucky).

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The second day, December 31st, is the big night. The night when everything goes down. Now, I wish I knew that before so I would have organised myself a bit better rather than enjoying a romantic candle-lit dinner with Alle at The Cellar Door. In fact, I wouldn’t have got to the Street Party at 10pm, joining a horde of people we had to cross to get to a place where we could actually breathe.
A few elbows and knees later, we managed to find a place just in time to see an amazing display of fireworks at the turning of the year…

20150101_000354 20150101_000346Watch the video here. Warning: I’m screaming and jumping around!

The Street Party was an absolute blast, especially because given the occasion I didn’t let the mess ruining it for me. However, I agree with Mr ferguson when he said there was something very wrong with its organisation.

The day after it was hard to get up, but we had to – I had registered to take part to Scot:Land, an event taking place in some hidden parts of Edinburgh involving lots of talented artists. This was thoroughly enjoyable as it gave us the chance to visit places we would have never seen otherwise. That sort of “I know it’s there in the neighbourhood but I’ve never actually been in it” kind of place – which made me rethink a lot on what I’m missing out in London.

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I did miss out on the Looney Dook, the parade of fancy dressed people taking the New Year Plunge to raise money for charities, which was a shame as I really wanted to see it. If you’ve been, let me know whether I’ve missed anything or not 🙂

The day after, on January 2nd, we already had to move South on our way back to London, stopping for a couple of days in a magical Medieval town: York. But I will tell you about this another time…

The four days in Edinburgh flew by, I fell in love with its people, we couldn’t have asked for more. And the weather! 7 degrees! When in Italy it was snowing, ha! I will definitely go back to see the city in a different context, and hopefully explore more of Scotland, but I’m glad we decided to spend NYE at Hogmanay. After all, it’s a truly once in a lifetime experience, one of those things you have to do before you die – I’ll add it and cross it off my bucket list at once! 😉

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To see some more photos of Edinburgh, check out my Facebook page!

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3 Responses

  1. […] perfect halfway spot from Edinburgh, I had to fight for it as Alle wanted to go to the Lake District – we weren’t […]

  2. […] was definitely a trip of a lifetime, I was already deeply in love with Scotland after going to Hogmanay, but this time I got to experience all of that its nature has to offer. I am a big fan of city […]

  3. […] was definitely a trip of a lifetime, I was already deeply in love with Scotland after going to Hogmanay, but this time I got to experience all of that its nature has to offer. I am a big fan of city […]

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