Edinburgh in winter might sound like it would be dreary, but it’s decidedly not. And one of the main reasons is that one of the city’s best festivals takes place at New Year’s – it’s Hogmanay in Edinburgh.
Hogmanay, which means “last day of the year” in Scots, is usually at least a two-day holiday covering December 31 and January 1, and it can even stretch into January 2 as well. Historically speaking, it’s a pagan celebration, and during the reformation it was celebrated in secret. Since the end of the 17th century, however, it’s been back out in public and these days it’s one of the best reasons to visit Edinburgh in the winter.
Some towns in Scotland participate in certain Hogmanay customs – like swinging big balls of fire around at midnight in a race around the town or blessing the household with a burning juniper branch – but if you’re looking for an all-night party to ring in the new year, then you’ll want to book yourself a room in Edinburgh.
The Scottish capital hosts one of the biggest Hogmanay celebrations in the world, and accommodations can be hard to come by if you haven’t reserved a bed well in advance. Once you’ve got your lodging squared away, then take a peek at what’s on tap for Edinburgh Hogmanay – and get registered for the festivities!
Oh, and don’t get too hung up about the name Hogmanay or where the word comes from – no one really knows. All you’ll need to know is that the accent falls on the last syllable. Of course, once you’re properly engaged in the all-night partying, you’re not really going to care how the word is pronounced anymore, are you?
To find out more about Hogmanay in Edinburgh as well as the rest of Scotland, check out ScotlandLogue’s guide to Hogmanay and New Years traditions in Scotland.