Flickr: This is Edinburgh

Here in Edinburgh, New Years’ Eve is an especially exciting time of year. In Scotland, we call it ‘Hogmany’ and, every year, Edinburgh hosts one of the biggest and most spectacular celebrations in the world.

Fireworks over Edinburgh

We begin the festivities a day early on the 30th December with a torchlight procession in which thousands of torch holders walk from the historic Royal Mile to Calton Hill, where they are rewarded with a stunning fireworks display.

Then, on the 31st December, around 80,000 people come from around the world to ‘ring in the New Year’ (an idiom meaning: “to celebrate New Years’ Eve”) together at Edinburgh’s infamous street party. Featuring the Concert in the Gardens, which showcases live music from world-famous artists, the street party hosts great bars and an amazing atmosphere. As the bells ring at midnight, an impressive firework display takes place using Edinburgh Castle as a back drop. At this point, it is traditional in Scotland, and in the rest of the UK, to sing the famous ‘Auld Lang Syne’ by Scottish poet, Robert Burns

Festivities on George Street

Elsewhere, people take part in popular Hogmany activities such as dinner dances, ceilidhs or neighbour’s parties. In fact, it is customary in Scotland to go to each house party in turn to wish everyone a happy New Year – those who take part in this tradition are known as ‘first footers’.

The festivities continue well into New Years’ Day with many ceilidhs and events taking place around the city. More adventurous types will go to South Queensferry near Edinburgh and take part in the traditional ‘Loony Dook’, which involves running into the sea at midday (often in fancy dress!)