What is Hogmanay?

6th December

Let’s clear things up – simply put Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and refers to the celebration of the coming New Year. But we like to call it Scotland’s New Year Festival, because it’s so much more than that. Here we give you the lowdown on what it all means so you can celebrate like a local.

Did you know that in Scotland Hogmanay is sometimes considered more important than Christmas? That’s because the Church of Scotland outlawed Christmas for nearly 400 years (it only became a public holiday in 1958).

Hogmanay on the other hand, was always celebrated, and so 1 and 2 January are public holidays in Scotland (you’ll need them to survive the hangover). Some families even mark the occasion with a special meal – usually steak pie (find out about more New Year’s traditions here).

All those hundreds of years with no other winter holiday means that nowadays we pull out all the stops for Hogmanay. That’s why Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events start on 30 December with the Torchlight Procession, and don’t end until 25 January 2019 with Message from the Skies.

But the best thing about Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the fact that there’s something for everyone. If you’re a hardcore music lover then the Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker features talent like Glasgow-favourite Gerry Cinnamon, Judge Jules, Elephant Sessions, SNAP!, Meute (and all hosted by homegrown DJs the Mac Twins).

Want to celebrate Hogmanay with your kids? Join the Torchlight Procession on 30 December and witness the historic streets of Edinburgh lit up by thousands of torchbearers.

You can even celebrate Hogmanay with your wee ones – just a bit earlier – at Bairns Afore. Features a fireworks display made just for you and your bairns. And of course, our headline act at Concert in the Gardens Franz Ferdinand is serving the ultimate festival vibe to mark the beginning of 2019 (but it doesn’t stop there...!)

We love that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay features an unforgettable mix of the old and the cutting edge. It’s what marking the New Year has always been about. It’s where your New Year’s festivities can extend over 3 days and well into January with a host of the hottest talent, music and parties Scotland has to offer.

There may have been Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events every year for the past 26 years, but we’ve always got a new trick up our sleeve to help you celebrate Scotland’s New Year Festival. Join us from 30 December and experience a true Hogmanay in Edinburgh.

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