The Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival runs from December 30 to January 2 and bills itself as one of the largest New Year's celebrations in the world. Hogmanay is the Scots word for the final day of the calendar year, and thus is often used in Scotland to describe New Year's Eve. In fact, the famous song Auld Lang Syne has its origins in Scots and is sung every year at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival.
The opening event of the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival is the traditional Torchlight Procession. Tens of thousands of torchbearers leave Parliament Square at 6:30 PM and parade to Carlton Hill for the free Son et Lumiere light and fireworks display at 7:45 PM. The Torchlight Procession serves as a spectacular opening to the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival for visitors and locals alike.
The night of the 31st features a variety of events such as the festival's signature Concert in the Gardens, featuring acts like Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro and English indie favorites The Charlatans. Also on the 31st is the famous Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival Street Party. This event runs from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM and features live music, DJ sets, giant screens, outdoor bars and many other forms of entertainment. Like the Torchlight Procession, the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival Street Party culminates in an impressive fireworks display to celebrate the New Year.
For those looking for a more traditional Scottish Hogmanay experience, the 31st is also the night of the Keilidh. The Keilidh is modeled after Gaelic ceilidhs, a traditional type of social gathering. Here, visitors can find Scottish food and drink as well as traditional Scottish music with a genuine Ceilidh Caller to teach dances. Like the Street Party, the Keilidh has a great view of the midnight fireworks. The Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival is a great way to bring in the New Year for travelers and locals alike. The festival offers a unique mix of traditional Scottish and modern celebrations and has something for everyone to enjoy.