The History of the Torchlight Procession

6th November

The Torchlight Procession is a true staple of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, which blazes through the streets every year on the 30th December. It’s truly a breathtaking spectacle to behold, but where did the tradition come from?

The Torchlight Procession is actually reminiscent of the ancient customs of Scottish Hogmanay parties hundreds of years ago. These festivities would include the lighting of bonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels down hills and tossing torches, as fire has long been considered a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.

Animal hide was also wrapped around sticks and ignited. It was said that doing this produced a smoke to ward off evil spirits.

The Torchlight Procession can also be traced back even further to pre-Christian Viking festivals, which celebrated the Winter Solstice. At these, fireballs and torches signified the power of the sun to purify the world by consuming evil spirits – a reference to Hogmanay’s pagan Norse roots. 

So, why not join in on 30.12.19 and help purge the world of evil spirits before the New Year begins?

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