The Annual Hogmanay Festival
The Hogmanay Festival is essentially a New Year celebration with a dash of Scottish flair. This festival takes place on the 31st of December every year and is phenomenally well supported and raucous. Hogmanay generally starts quite early in the evening, reaching its peak as expected at midnight with the ringing of bells, the singing of the old folk song "Auld Lang Syne" and plenty of good wishes, accompanied by kissing, being showered on all and sundry.
Depending on where you are in Scotland, activities for this festival may vary from folk song singing, dancing, torch light processions, the swinging of fireballs and a number of other activities, which are all combined with lots of laughter and fun for the whole evening and well into the next morning.
This celebration dates back as far as the Vikings. Its roots are found in the pagan practice of fire and sun worship during the dark months of winter. Later this became the Roman celebration of 'Saturnalia' where the people celebrated without any inhibitions or restraint. The Vikings celebrated a variation of this festival and called it 'Yule' which later became the 12 days of Christmas or 'Daft Days'.
The symbolism of fire at these festivals is quite profound and it stands for a number of things. Some view it as shining light on the unknown year to follow, putting light on a bright new horizon full of enlightenment.
Although this festival is held in most Scottish cities, the largest groups of people will be found in Edinburgh and Glasgow where up to 100,000 tickets have been sold but even more people have found their way in.