The Christmas holidays passed through Thailand quite discretely. It could be the lack of snow and jolly Christmas carols, or most likely the fact that my family is so far away, but whatever the reason, Christmas didn’t feel all that Christmassy this year… I ended up celebrating by going out for a veggie wrap here in Chiang Mai and then watching Love Actually for the first time. (It’s not as depressing as it sounds – I did also get to meet up with friends before and after Christmas!)
However, while my Christmas holidays were quite low-key, that’s all about to change for New Years. Yup, I’m heading over to Edinburgh for an infamous celebration known as Hogmanay!
What is Hogmanay?
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year, but the event itself is hardly a one day affair. The Scots know how to ring in the New Year in style, and I’m going to be attending a three day celebration that will have me dancing to Scottish folk music, parading across town with a fiery torch in hand, and I have a feeling there may be some whisky involved, or a lot of whiskey…oh boy.
The celebrations will be broken down into several events, among them:
- The Street Party: An estimated 80,000 revellers will be ringing in the New Year in Edinburgh with local and international bands playing across various stages.
- Torchlight Procession: Vikings and fire? Yes! The Torchlight procession will be led by the Up Helly Aa’ Vikings from the Shetlands as thousands of torch carriers march through the city before ending up in Calton Hill.
- The Keilidh: A massive outdoor dance floor, a food village and a bar. This sounds like the perfect place to learn some fancy footwork.
- Loony Dook: Now here’s a strange event – on New Years day people willingly choose to parade down High Street in their bathing suits and wacky outfits before jumping into the icy waters of the River Forth. It still remains to be decided whether I’ll be a spectator or whether I’ll partake!
A bit of travel around Scotland
After the New Year’s festivities, I will have a bit of time to explore more of Scotland. My route will take me past Stirling, which is known as the Gateway to the Highlands; Glencoe, which was the setting to the chilling Massacre of Glencoe; Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles; Eilean Donan, the famed castle which sits on a small tidal island in Loch Duich; the Isle of Skye, home to stunning landscapes; and Loch Ness for the chance to spot Nessie. But most of all, what I really want to see is a hairy Highland Cow! Can you blame me? Look at that face!
And that will conclude my whirlwind tour of Scotland! There is still so much more I want to do, so if you have any recommendations on where to find the best deep-fried Mars bar, or where to eat a hearty breakfast the morning after New Years, let me know in the comments below. I’ve done very little planning, and I’m going to have plenty of down time to explore Edinburgh, so I’d love to hear your suggestions.
And if you see #Blogmanay trending on Twitter, now you know what the fuss is all about.
Any recommendations for Edinburgh?
And more importantly, where will you be celebrating?
#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, EventScotland,
Homecoming Scotland, VisitScotland, Edinburgh Festivals, Marketing Edinburgh, Historic Scotland and
co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events.