If ever there were an excuse to gather with your pals in the street, start a ceilidh, gorge on haggis and sip on mulled wine, Hogmanay is it.
Every year, tourists and Scots alike head to Scotland’s hilly capital, Edinburgh, for events including torchlit processions, fireworks, the Loony Dook dip and candlelit concerts to usher in the New Year.
However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic Hogmanay celebrations have been put on hold, and this year its organiser have yet again had to announce its cancelation.
Here’s everything you need to know about Hogmanay, from what it is to where it’s celebrated:
Will Hogmanay go ahead this year during the pandemic?
On December 21 its organisers took to Twitter to announce the cancellation of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme for 2021.
'The decision has been taken following the change in Scottish Government guidance and restrictions. The safety of all guests, event staff and the wider city of Edinburgh is the foremost priority for all involved,' a tweet read.
The Box Office team will contact ticket holders in January.
'We know this news will be disappointing for so many people, but Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will return to the forefront of the world’s new year celebrations,' they added.
2/3 The decision has been taken following the change in Scottish Government guidance and restrictions. The safety of all guests, event staff and the wider city of Edinburgh is the foremost priority for all involved.
— Edinburgh's Hogmanay (@edhogmanay) December 21, 2021
The Hogmanay 2020 party was also canceled (see below for more details), but went ahead in a new format.
On December 9, 2020 its organisers announced that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay would, for the first time in its history, move to an entirely online celebration from December 28 to January 1.
The stay-at-home event series was free to watch and streamed here, with a line-up that included David Tennant, a Celtic fusion band, Niteworks and Scottish actors Lorne MacFayden and Siobhan Redmond. Find out more here.
What is Hogmanay?
To put it simply, the word ‘hogmanay’ is the Scottish word for the last day of the year (Gregorian calendar) and refers to the festivities that happen in the lead up to the coming New Year.
According to Edinburgh Hogmanay's official website, the holiday is sometimes considered more important than Christmas, as the Church of Scotland outlawed it for nearly 400 years, with the festive holiday only becoming a public holiday in 1958.
However, Hogmanay has been celebrated for centuries and calls for a big party across Scotland (no surprise that January 1 and 2 are public holidays in Scotland, #hangover). Scottish tradition dictates that it's lucky to eat circular shaped food (think haggis and cake) on New Year’s Day to symbolise ‘coming full circle’ and good fortune.
Eating ‘greens’, such as spinach, kale, green beans, are also thought to be lucky as they resemble money, as are black-eyed peas or lentils, which look like coins.
Where is Hogmanay?
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events usually start on December 30 with its annual Torchlight Procession, and ends on January 25.
Although the exact locations of events change year to year, most occur in or around Princes Street Gardens, the Waverley train station, The Mound, McEwan Hall, the Royal Mile, and Calton Hill.
When it comes to celebrating Hogmanay, there are several ways to travel around Edinburgh. Both railway stations (Waverley & Haymarket) are located in the city centre, and on December 31, Edinburgh Trams will be running a free tram service to get you home, from midnight – 5am.
On New Year's Eve Lothian Buses have previously offered a Hogmanay Ticket for £5 (this permits unlimited travel from 6pm on December 31 - 4am on January 1).
Better yet, you can also off-set the carbon produced by your journey to Edinburgh when purchasing event tickets. Find out more here about how to do that.
What’s the best way to get to Edinburgh?
Travel to Scotland right not might not be the best idea, unless necessary, due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.
However, an open-return train ticket via Trainline.com, leaving at 9am from London’s Kings Cross on December 31 will set you back around £147 (without a railcard) and take approximately 4.20hrs.
Meanwhile, a return flight from Luton Airport, leaving around 9am on 31 December and arriving in Edinburgh, will cost around £109 and take 1.15hrs.
If you really want to save your pennies, you could drive or grab a Megabus for a ticket starting at £23.30 on December 31/
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