Stonehaven & Hogmanay Fireballs

Happy New Year & Happy Hogmanay!

For those of you who don't know what Hogmanay is... it is the Scottish holiday celebrated on New Year's Eve and up to the second day of January. This holiday tradition goes back hundreds of years. One of the first times the word Hogmanay was recorded was in 1604, but most sources think the holiday is much older, perhaps going back to ancient Norse traditions. The Norse Vikings invaded and settled in parts of Scotland over a thousand years ago.

Each area of Scotland celebrates Hogmanay in its own way. Edinburgh has a huge street party, live music, fireworks, etc. Tens of thousands of people visit Scotland at Hogmanay to join in the celebration. Stonehaven in eastern Scotland has its own unique way to celebrate Hogmanay too--The Fireball Ceremony. Local people walk down High Street swinging huge fireballs.

Other Hogmanay customs include "first-footing", which means the first person to cross your threshold in the new year, usually a neighbor. If a tall, dark-haired man is the first across your threshold after midnight of the new year, this is considered lucky. Definitely sounds lucky to me! LOL This "first-footer" is supposed to come bearing symbolic gifts of (traditionally) salt, coal, shortbread, whisky, or black bun (a type of Scottish fruit cake.) These gifts are considered lucky. The host then gives food and refreshment to the "first-footer." This visiting may happen throughout the night and into the next day.

 Back to Stonehaven and their Fireball Ceremony... I've found a video to show you what it's like.


I've never been to Scotland in winter, but we were fortunate to get to stay four days in Stonehaven during September. Here are some views of the town.

The view from the front of the hotel where we stayed and the pub where we ate a few times.

Market Buildings on Allardice Street

Stonehaven Harbor
Shore Head Street that faces the Harbor
Beautiful flowers in front of The Granary, an old, historic building 
The Royal Hotel where we stayed
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Stonehaven. What did you think of the Fireball Ceremony? Personally I'd love to be there for one of those, but I think I'd want well away from the street. LOL


Rose Anderson said...

Loved the fireballs!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

We loved our time in Stonehaven five years ago. It's fun to see the fire balls and all the people out enjoying themselves. Thanks for starting the new year off with some of your great photos, Vonda.

We had one of the best meals here. I don't think I'll have any trouble getting hubby back to that restaurant.

Happy New Year to you.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for checking it out, Rose! I like them too.

Isn't Stonehaven wonderful, Paisley? I love it there. Even though it's a big town it is still nice and relaxing. I love towns that are right on the ocean too. I'm glad you had a wonderful meal! Happy New Year!

Vanessa Holland said...

Oh, wow, I'd love to be there to see that in person! It looks like so much fun. But I'd also like to see the town. So quaint. Thanks for posting, Vonda! I'd heard of Hogmanay but didn't really know what it was.

Vonda Sinclair said...

I agree, it looks like great fun, Vanessa! It's an amazing town too. Thanks for checking it out! Happy New Year!

Carly Carson said...

Great pictures, as always! I want to go to Scotland this year, but my New Year's resolution is to do no traveling. hmmmm Mutually exclusive goals I guess. I'll have to be an armchair traveler.

Maeve Greyson said...


Lyn Horner said...

Marvelous photos, Vonda. I visited Scotland several years ago and thoroughly loved the country. Didn't make it to Stonehaven, maybe next time. Loved the video!

Clover Autrey said...

I've never heard of that before. It's so cool.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Carly, thanks! Glad you like the pics! Oh no, I wouldn't want a resolution of no traveling. LOL I love travel!

Maeve, thanks! It is a wonderful place!

Lyn, thanks! I hope you get to go to Stonehaven soon. It's fun to just walk around the town. Plus there are lots of interesting sites and castles in the area.

Clover, It is an unusual ceremony. I'd love to watch it in person.

Pauline Wiles said...

We lived in Aberdeen when I was a child so I've been to the fireball ceremony... but I wish I could remember it better and would love to go again.
The town looks much prettier than I recall! It's a lovely part of Scotland.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Hi Pauline, how cool that you lived in Aberdeen! We found most of Stonehaven to be really pretty and picturesque. Thanks for commenting!