It is thought that the Hogmanay celebration was inherited from the Vikings in the 8th or 9th Century who, coming from even further north than Scotland, paid particular attention to the passing of the shortest day of the year, or winter solstice. In Shetland, where the Viking influence was strongest, New Year is called Yules.
It may be surprising to some but Christmas was not widely celebrated in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s. The reason for this harked back to the Protestant Reformation when the Kirk portrayed Christmas as a Catholic feast and therefore had to be banned. Because of this, many Scots would work over Christmas and their winter solstice holiday was therefore at New Year when family and friends gathered for a party and to exchange presents. This festival came to be called Hogmanay.
Now entering its’ 22nd year, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay runs over 3 days from the 30th December 2014 to 1st of January 2015. On top of that, Scotland has a bonus Bank Holiday on 2nd January which can be particularly useful for recovering party-goers!
Highlights of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
In 2014 Edinburgh’s Hogmanay was the only festival to be named in the ‘Discovery Channel – Top 25 World Travel Experiences’, and listed as THE place in the world to celebrate New Year in the ‘Lonely Planet – Best Place to be Today’.
The official start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the torchlight procession on 30th December. 35’000 torch carriers and spectators fill the streets of the city along with massed pipes & drums from the starting position on George IV Bridge, down Princes Street to the summit of Calton Hill.
This year, Lily Allen will be headlining the Concert in the Gardens, along with support from Soul II Soul and Bjorn Again. The stages in the Street Party will witness performances from Twin Atlantic, Young Fathers, Eddi Reader and many others.
Events which take place in Edinburgh over the three days include:
- The Torchlight Procession
- Candlelit Concert at St Giles’ Cathedral
- Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party and Concert in the Gardens
- The world’s biggest rendition of Auld Lang Syne!
- Firework Displays on 30th December for the Torchlight Procession, at every hour from 9pm leading up to midnight on 31st December, and of course the main Midnight display to mark the start of 2015.
- The Loony Dook on New Year’s Day– where the more hardy among us can join in the annual dip in the freezing Firth of Forth under the shadow of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge
Edinburgh Hogmanay Firework Facts
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Midnight Fireworks Display is 5 minutes long with many of the fireworks fired simultaneously, but if each effect were fired individually, the display would last for over four hours.
If you take the burst radius of all the fireworks (the circle of stars seen visible high in the sky) and line them up next to each other, the display would stretch from Edinburgh through to Glasgow and back.
Or if you measure the lift height of each effect from where it is fired to where it bursts in the sky, for all the fireworks effects and add them together they would reach from Edinburgh to the outskirts of Paris.
There are over 2200 individual cues delivering nearly 11,000 shots into the sky producing hundreds of thousands of stars in 18 different shades of colour.
It’s taken over 70 hours of design time for the midnight fireworks display to fit perfectly with this year’s music.
A production team of four people have spent a combined total of 480 hours in advanced preparation of the shows, that’s before 5 days work begins on site in Edinburgh.
A crew of 14 pyrotechnicians will walk around 105 miles whilst setting up the fireworks in their positions at Edinburgh Castle, West Princes Street Gardens and on Calton Hill.
We look forward to seeing you there.
The team at Titanium.
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