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
|Shore Head Street that faces the Harbor
|Beautiful flowers in front of The Granary, an old, historic building
|The Royal Hotel where we stayed