The Scottish Hogmanay festival takes place between 29th December and 2nd January, and although celebrating New Year’s Eve is a custom that was introduced in Scotland 5 centuries ago, this festival is much older than the current one calendar. The celebration of the Hogmanay comes from the old rites of the solstice, and was merged with the Christian Christmas from the year 1600.
Officially, St. Andrew’s Day commences on November 30, but it is during the last days of the year that torchlight processions, fireworks displays and street performers can be admired throughout the streets of Edinburgh. One of the most traditional expressions of these festivals is the popular dance of ceilidh, essential in most traditional festivals in Scotland.
The origin of the word is unknown, being able to come from both the Celtic and the Norman, as is its concrete meaning although it is associated with Christmas jubilation. The first documentary reference to this term comes from the year 1604, being written like Hagmonay, and later it is mentioned in a treaty of Presbyterian Elocuencia. It is believed that the origin of this tradition may be the ancient Nordic solstice ritual, as in the case of the Gaelic Samhain, and which the Vikings called Yule. The fact that this tradition has remained to this day, even with the Church against pagan rituals, is that it was held in hiding for many years.
During the night of December 29, after the traditional dances, the fire and lights procession begins, at which time the Royal Mile is illuminated by thousands of people carrying torches, all dressed up with the best popular music of Scotland. Inside the Cathedral of St Giles, classical music concerts are organized in the light of candles.