For a long time I assumed Hogmanay was something everyone celebrated over the New Year period. This probably has a lot to do with growing up with a Scottish mother who, despite now living in Australia for almost 40 years, has held onto a number of traditions from her motherland and has endeavoured to pass them on to her children – Hogmanay being the richest of these traditions.
While most Australians would argue that Sydney Harbour has the monopoly when it comes to New Years Eve, the truth (at least in my eyes) is that Scotland has turned the yearly celebration into something of an art form. The Hogmanay celebrations throughout Scotland neither begin nor end at New Years Eve, instead encompassing the days before and after to create a pretty magical cultural event.
So as the son of a Scot and veteran of many an Australian Hogmanay celebration, I felt it was my cultural duty a couple of years ago to head to Edinburgh and make sure I was celebrating New Years the “correct” way.
Every year on the 31st December the city of Edinburgh shuts down the CBD for a massive street party. The party, complete with concerts, dancing and fireworks, is a limited-number, ticketed affair and is usually sold out well in advance thanks to the popularity of the celebration. If squashing in with hundreds of thousands of other people while fireworks light up one of the most beautiful skylines in the world is your thing, I recommend you sign up on the official Hogmanay site here (and buy tickets as soon as they’re available). It’s a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance too. Christmas and New Years Eve are busy times. Check out Expedia’s Top Trending Edinburgh Hotels for a few options.
And finally – and most importantly considering I’m the music blogger for Expedia – make sure you learn the words to the most famous Scottish song of all time and sing it loud and clear as the clock strikes twelve:
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.
On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.