Hogmanay: NYE the Edinburgh way

I’ve often found New Year’s parties to be a bit of a letdown. Bars overcharge you, clubs are packed to the brim, and house parties can get a bit too messy. So this time around, instead of waiting on someone else to make plans, I rounded up a group of pals and decided that we were going to see in the bells in my favourite city.

For a bit of background, Hogmanay is the Scots name for their New Year’s Eve festivities. It is thought that many of the traditional celebrations that take place have origins from the invading Vikings, who brought them to Scotland in the early 8th and 9th centuries. They believed that the arrival of the Winter Solstice, (the shortest day), had great significance, and to honour this they held some epic parties. (Nice.)

It is also not common knowledge that Christmas was basically banned in Scotland for around 400 years, due to the Protestant Reformation. As a result, up until the 1950s Scots would work as usual over Christmas, and instead celebrate the winter solstice holiday at New Year with some huge parties.

This is why Hogmanay celebrations attract so many visitors from all across the globe. Events span across a few days, and there are so many things going on that there is definitely something for everyone to get involved in. The torchlight procession on the 30th December is pretty cool, just to watch or take part in. There is also a ceilidh in Old Town, and this year we welcomed none other that Paulo Nutini, who played two nights of sell-out shows in Prince’s Street Gardens.

The Street Party is one of the world’s biggest outdoor parties, and has ample opportunity to capture some great Instagram snaps as the backdrop is none other than Edinburgh Castle. The fireworks are not to be missed, with a new set sparking off every hour from 9pm to the magical Midnight Moment. It was such a nice experience to have all of my best mates around to welcome in 2017 in a way that is so unique. Everyone was in such high spirits and it really was totally different to any NYE party that I’ve been to before. One of the only similarities was that no one knew the words to Auld Lang Syne, but we still made an effort to mumble through as best we could.

So, next year, if you’re stumped for ideas and are looking for NYE plans, I urge you to consider trying Hogmanay at least once. It even has pride of place in the 100 things to do before you die list!

Happy New Year to you all!

Alex