Hogmanay Torchlight Procession
Each winter thousands of people march through the streets of Edinburgh with flaming torches to celebrate the Hogmanay New Year. What could possibly go wrong?
Actually, nothing goes wrong. Complete strangers join together to walk side by side. Everyone is polite and courteous to each other. This year 35,000 people from around the world showed up to enjoy the spectacle.
Hogmanay New Year 2014
Edinburgh’s torchlight procession marks the start of celebrations for Hogmanay, Scotland’s traditional New Year festival. The word Hogmanay means “end of year”, but rather than just one day of merrymaking, this party lasts 3 days.
The roots of the holiday are not certain, but it likely has to do with the Norse winter solstice celebrations and the Gaelic festival Samhain that marked the end of the harvest season.
Shetland’s Up Helly Aa’ Vikings (Photo By: Off the Path)
Held each year on December 30th, the torchlight procession begins in Edinburgh’s Old Town and makes its way through the heart of the city. The march is led by a burly squad of Shetland Up Helly Aa’ Vikings wielding flaming sticks.