As the end of the year approaches, that question starts popping up again… “So… What are you doing on New Years’s Eve?” Then start the discussions, the dilemma’s and the decision making process.
Two years ago, a few of my friends and I decided to welcome the new year abroad. Instead of spending our money on brand new flashy party outfits and tickets to some overpriced party, we booked cheap flights to Scotland. That year we celebrated by joining the Hogmanay street party in Edinburgh.
A very wise decision as Hogmanay, turned out to be an incredible way to start off the new year with a BANG! Literally… I don’t know how many tonnes of fireworks were rocketed to the sky, but I’d definitely had my dose of fireworks for the following 2 years!
All through the night, the streets of Edinburgh were filled with laughter, singing, skipping, drinking, dancing, eating, twirling, hugging…
So what exactly goes on during Hogmanay in Edinburgh?
There are many street concerts entertaining the crowds. Dance, sing along, make friends… Do as you please. The entire event takes place outdoors, in the city centre, so you’re are free to roam around or move from one performance to the next, keeping in mind that there are around 80 000 attendees to navigate through.
As the night progresses, the mass grows, the streets fill up and the atmosphere heats up. When midnight approaches; the bands stop playing and the crowd flocks toward the main square.
At 00:00, impressive fireworks light up the sky. The Scots then proudly sign “Auld lang syne”. Tens of thousands of people sing (more or less) simultaneously… Heart warming! Hugs, kisses and best wishes are exchanged between friends and random by-standers, it’s magical!
After the remarkable moment, a couple of dj’s play some tunes and you can dance on the square. Once the music dies down, a challenge awaits; getting off the square! As all the participants try to leave at the same time, you can imagine there is a lot of pushing and shoving. All you can do is go with the flow and let it happen.
That can be the end of the evening or you can step into one of the bars to continue the party.
Some tips for an awesome Hogmanay street party
– Protect yourself against the cold weather the best you can. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the event is outdoors and, well, it’s winter! Be prepared for rain as well!
– Most people bring their own drinks in plastic bottles. It’s too hard to get a drink from a bar or a stand when you’re gathered before and after the countdown. It will save you a lot of trouble and a few pennies.
– If you hate the masses and drunk people, you might want to reconsider Hogmanay… OR challenge yourself to try it anyway!
– It’s well worth staying a few extra days to explore the city. Edinburgh is a beautiful gothic city with a strong personality. There is much to see, to do and to taste!
– There are plenty of other activities going on around New Year’s Eve. You can participate in a torchlit procession through town or ride the ferris wheel. Let your inner child go nuts in the ‘winter wonderland’ attractions. For the real daredevils, why not start the new year fresh by taking a splash in the river -for charity. Find out more about Hogmanay and the other events here
– If you’re on a budget, you’ll find lots of cheap food in town, admittedly not the most healthy food, but hey, you’re on holiday… I’d also recommend you stay as far away from the shops as you possibly can! There are sales during this period and you could easily be tempted!
Spending New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, was an unforgettable experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Not only is the event well organised, but the Scots are warm, welcoming and know how to throw a party!
Have you already made plans for New Year’s Eve?
The post “New Year’s Eve abroad: Hogmanay Street party, Edinburgh” first appeared on Travel Cake.