The Best New Year's - Hogmanay Celebrations in Scotland

Where to Find Hogmanay -The Best Scotland New Year's Eve Parties

Swimmers Brave The Loony Dook New Years Day Swim
••• A New Year's Day swim in the Firth of Forth, part of Edinburgh's traditional Hogmanay - though the selfies are new. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Hogmanay is New Year's Eve and more in Scotland. It is Scotland's biggest winter holiday - far bigger than Christmas in terms of public celebrations and festivities that often go on for four days or more! Here's where to go for Scotland's biggest and most exciting Hogmanay parties:

  • Edinburgh Hogmanay From December 30 to January 1, Edinburgh holds the biggest New Year's Eve party in the world.There are concerts, before and after the new year, ceilidhs, a torchlight procession and even a winter dip in the sea. It's a wild party and one not to miss. 
  • Glasgow Hogmanay Who would credit it, that a town with such a hard man reputation as Glasgow would roll up the pavements at 10p.m. for Hogmanay? But that's the hard truth. For Hogmanay in  Glasgow. There are no big public celebrations planned. But the pubs, clubs and music venues will be lively if you want to make your own fun.
  • Oban Hogmanay Scotland's West Highland's seaside resort holds public events every other year that include concerts, fireworks and other celebrations. They'll be seeing out 2017 and welcoming in 2018 for the next one. But meanwhile, the atmosphere in the town is very lively. Most pubs and bars have an extended licence to 3am - though many operate a "lock-in" with no one admitted after midnight. The ferries and boats in the harbor add to the din and there's plenty of well lubricated Scottish jollity in the streets. Don't expect an early night.
  • Stirling Hogmanay In 2016/2017, Stirling plans a light parade along King Street with lanterns and light sculptures plus music and street entertainers. The parade will wind through the city center towards Kings Park where  - from 6:30 to 9 pm - there will be two hours of free entertainment for all ages. And, of course, at the stroke of midnight, there will be spectacular fireworks over the city skyline and the impressive walls of Stirling Castle. 
  • Biggar Bonfire An enormous bonfire in the center of this small town starts about 9:30p.m. on New Year's Eve. This bonfire is so big that they actually start building up the pile of fuel for Hogmanay ignition on December 1. If you have a streak of pyromania in you, you'll love it.
  • Stonehaven Fireball Festival 60 marchers whirl 16 pound balls of fire around their heads in a dramatic and terrifying spectacle on New Year's Eve. At one time, only men born in the borough of Stonehaven could take part. Today, people who have lived there for a number of years and have served as parade marshals can apply to take part. And quite a few women can whirl the huge and heavy ball of flame around their heads.
  • Burghead Hogmanay - The Burning of the Clavie Celebrated on 11 January - or The Old New Year - this is a ritual fire ceremony that involves burning barrels and spectacles to chill the heart of anyone who saw the cult horror film The Wicker Man.
  • Comrie Flambeau Procession A torchlight procession that can involve thousands of people, many in costumes. The Comrie Flambeau are not any sort of torch. They are usually at least 10 feet tall - each carried by one  person. They are made from saplings wrapped in hessian - or hopsacking fabric - soaked in tar. No one really knows how far back this event goes but some people claim it is of pagan origin. 
  • Dufftown  If you're doing a bit of whisky touring and find yourself in the Speyside whisky region on New Year's Eve, head for the Dufftown, the capital of Speyside, to see in the new year. There, just before the stroke of midnight, the local distillery and shortbread manufacturer give out free drams and shortbread to wet the baby's head - the baby being the new year, of course.