With buzzing street parties, traditional Scottish ceilidhs and dazzling firework displays popping up across the city, there’s something for everyone at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. If you’re heading there this New Year’s Eve, prepare for an abundance of tartan and whisky…
What is Hogmanay?
Hogmanay – the Scots’ word for December 31 – is the three-day festival synonymous with New Year’s Eve celebrations in Scotland. Its origins date back to the winter solstice festival celebrated by the Vikings in late December, and like most Scottish holidays it goes hand in hand with countless customs. The one that’s practised most widely is first-footing: a tradition which involves bee lining for the homes of family and friends bearing gifts the moment the clock strikes midnight, setting a positive precedent for the new year.
What’s On in Edinburgh?
Hogmanay is celebrated throughout Scotland, but capital city Edinburgh is the central hub of revelry. Every year around 150,000 people attend Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities, which run from 30 December – 1 January. So what’s in store this year?
- Torchlight Procession: The festival kicks off with a procession of torchbearers weaving through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, down the Royal Mile, around the Scottish Parliament and culminating in the historic Holyrood Park. On reaching the Park, torchbearers will come together to form an image of two people holding hands, which will be captured from the air and broadcast around the world. Tickets from £3, book here
- Symphonic Ibiza: Celebrate the iconic European island of clubbing in the magnificent surroundings of the historic McEwan Hall, where live orchestra will be fused with high tempo beats from renowned club DJ Andy Joyce and musical genius Steve Etherington. Tickets from £33, book here
Mark Ronson’s Hogmanay in the Gardens: Award-winning artist Mark Ronson is headlining this year’s Concert in the Gardens, which takes place in the iconic West Prices Street Gardens. He’ll be joined by Rudimental DJ, alongside Scotland’s Mungo’s Hi Fi. Tickets from £75, book here
Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker: Ring in 2020 at Edinburgh’s annual New Year’s Eve street party, complete with live music, DJs and street performers from Scotland and mainland Europe. This year’s line up includes appearances from The Mac Twins, Keir Gibson, Marc Almond, Arielle Free and The Great Calverto. Guests can also attend a silent disco, which takes place on Market Street. Bonus: every reveller (over 18s only with ID) will be treated to a complimentary Johnnie Walker cocktail to ring in the New Year! Tickets cost £31pp. From 7.30pm to the early hours, book here
Bairns Afore: A popular family event, Bairns Afore invites children to enjoy live music and dancing as comic duo Dick and Dom battle it out behind the decks. At 6pm visitors can enjoy a dazzling firework display over Edinburgh Castle, allowing families to take their children home to bed before the late-night revelry kicks off. Tickets from £8.50, book here
Ceilidh under the Castle: Whirl, jig or dance the night away under the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh castle at a traditional Scottish ceilidh. With plenty of local food, drink and live ceildh bands, plus a huge firework display, it’s a pretty special way to ring in the new year. Tickets from £65, book here
Loony Dook: Come New Year’s Day in Edinburgh, brave locals shake off their hangovers by jumping into the freezing Firth of Forth at South Queensferry. Many dippers wear fancy dress, while others are fully clothed from the night before – but everyone is there to raise money for charity. Tickets cost £12, book here
Eddi Reader: Acclaimed artist Eddi Reader celebrates 40 years as a live performer in the McEwan Hall. Tickets from £38, book here
For more information, visit edinburghshogmanay.com