Tag Archives: scotland

HOGMANAY EVENTS SCOTLAND

Scotland has always been synonymous with Hogmanay and there are few Towns and Cities not holding a New Year event of some kind.

The word Hogmanay (prounced hog mah nay) is Scottish for the end of the year and the origins of it are thought to be a mixture of Gaelic and Norman French.

It wasn’t until 1958 that Christmas Day was designated as a public holiday in Scotland and as such, they continued to celebrate the pagan Yuletide including of course the Winter Solstice and Hogmanay.

No New Years Eve event would be complete without a rendition of Auld Lang Syne which today is sung widely in most of the British speaking world and not just for the new year but as a closing song for scouting jamborees and graduation ceremonies. The song itself was originally a poem written by Robert Burns, the 18th century Scottish poet and was set to a tune from a traditional folk song. Auld Lang Syne is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most sung piece in English.

New Year is said to be a time to welcome strangers and friends alike with warmth and love and it allows us to rid ourselves of past differences and move on into a new year.

As a little girl, with great-grandparents who were Scottish, my nanny always followed the ‘old traditions’ as she would describe. My lovely dad used to drive over to my nanny’s just after midnight to ‘first foot’ at her house. He was the quintessential man for the job as a strapping 6 feet plus in height with dark brown eyes and black hair.  He used to take a list of things with him: a coin – for good luck, salt – flavour, wood/coal – warmth, whiskey (a miniature) for good cheer (and of course to toast the arrival of the New Year) and an evergreen branch (we were OK with that as mum was a florist) for long life.

Check out some of the events taking place around Scotland this NYE:

EDINBURGH

Without a doubt one of the best known of all the Hogmanay Events in Scotland with a full list of top-class entertainment, food and refreshments, a Christmas Market, and of course the second biggest firework display in the UK. Whilst the fireworks can be clearly seen from across the City, Hogmanay HQ is the place to be but with tickets at £205.00 – £225.00 it is quite pricey. Prosecco and Canapes are served on arrival at the venue with a full hot and cold buffet for dinner, live music, entertainment, private bars and of course premium seating to watch the spectacular fireworks over Edinburgh Castle at midnight.

STIRLING

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and best-known castles across Scotland.  It was the Royal residence to innumerable Kings and Queens over the years as well as being a powerful stronghold, thanks mainly to its position at the top of a hill surrounded by steep cliffs on three of the sides making it almost impenetrable.  Most of the castle was built between 1490 – 1600 but there have been some alterations added to the structure as late as the 18th century.

Several Kings and Queens were also crowned at Stirling including Mary Queen of Scots who also had fireworks at her wedding to Henry Stuart – Lord Darnley, and her son, the soon to be infamous King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) who went on to be the King who they tried to kill in the Gunpowder Plot.

ABERDEEN

This stunning City is Scotland’s third highest in terms of population and once again has a full entertainment package on offer for Hogmanay. The evening will include an ABBA tribute band, street party, bagpipes and fireworks will be launched from His Majesty’s Theatre rooftop in spectacular fashion. There is also the Stonehaven Fireballs ceremony which has been taking place for hundreds of years but records of it only go back to the early part of the twentieth century. Todays ‘swingers’ number around 45 or so and it brings in around 1200 spectators annually. Street entertainment, the lilting sound of the bagpipes and drummers fill the air as the parade of fireball swingers make their way from the Town Hall to the Harbourside before launching their balls into the water. The event is concluded with a firework display at around 12.30pm but rest assured whilst the official merriment is at an end, the people of Stonehaven will keep the party going till the small hours so if you are looking for a close knit affair with that Scottish flavour, why not find somewhere to stay nearby.

INVERNESS – RED HOT HIGHLAND FLING

Celebrations take place at Northern Meeting park with a concert, fireworks and a huge amount of entertainment with award-winning acts (Scottish of course) which will bring something fresh to the event.

MUSSLEBURGH – EAST LOTHIAN

This family-friendly celebration includes traditional Scottish and contemporary arts, live music, singers and storytelling, pantomime, puppeteers and food. They also hold a charming lantern parade which includes hundreds of illuminated lanterns being paraded accompanied by local pipes and drums from 6.30pm before a majestic firework display from around 7.30pm free at the Fisherrow Links.

So, for a traditional and friendly Scottish Hogmanay celebration, get yourself up there and share in some of the magic.

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Celebrating The Half Century Of The Forth Road Bridge In Style

This weekend marks the end of a 10-day festival to celebrate the iconic Forth Road Bridge’s 50 years of service to the communities at both sides of the Firth of Forth.

There have been a massive variety of events taking place in celebration including:

  • Scotland welcomes the World to lunch – 500 people will dine from a menu created by World Class Chef and TV celebrity Nick Nairn. The menu has been created using the best quality food and drink from across Scotland.
  • A flotilla on the forth (Sunday) – A huge variety of crafts will travel along the stretch of water in front of North and South Queensferry, including tall ships, pleasure boats, warships, private yachts, ferries, motor-boats and canoes all celebrating 50 years of the Forth Road Bridge.
  • Zero to Fifty – an exhibition of the works of local artist Kate Downie who has painted the bridge from every angle.
  • ‘Mark your Spot’ is a chance for ‘lovers’ to declare their feelings by attaching an especially designed ‘lovelock’ to one of the two panels on the bridge.
  • Craft and local food market.
  • Fireworks street party from 6:00pm on Saturday 13th September including BBQ, food and drink concessions and to keep the cold winds off the Forth out of your bones, chocolate and cocktails.
  • Jazz Jamboree in the beautiful, unspoiled Queensferry which will include traditional and big swing jazz as well as vocal jazz for the lovers of the genre, this is the place to be.

Saturday 13th September heralds a massive FIREWORKS DISPLAY and a Torchlit procession by 2014 torchbearers –– the torchbearers will form a line which will span the whole of the bridge, lighting it up before the fireworks display which will be fired at precisely 10:06pm (as a nod to the length of the road bridge at 1006 metres) – there will be loads to do with a huge outdoor Ceilidh and live performances from local band Big Country alongside a special performance by Bwani Junction and world-class food and drink concessions on both sides of the bridge.

If you don’t want to ‘slum it’ with everyone else, you could of course take the more gentle route and either take your loved ones to the Queensferry Grand Hotel for a massive four-course dinner overlooking the fireworks display venue or get yourselves on board the yacht ‘Inspired Capital’ to see the fireworks display from the water.

It should be quite a sight to see with the 50 years in lights on the front of the bridge and the span full of torchbearers alongside some top class pyrotechnics choreographed to music which will be viewed by an anticipated crowd of around 100,000 visitors.

Sadly, due to deterioration of the steel wires that hold the bridge in place, it is due to be replaced by the new Queensferry Crossing in 2016 which will take all cars and lorries whilst the Road Bridge will continue to carry taxis, buses, cyclists and walkers, massively reducing the load bearing down on the old structure.

Click here to see some amazing pictures courtesy of the BBC.

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THE 20TH COMMONWEALTH GAMES GLASGOW 2014

What: Commonwealth Games 2014
Where: Celtic Park, Glasgow
When: 23rd July 2014 – 4th August 2014

Over 40,000 spectators will shortly be taking their seats for one of the biggest events Scotland has ever seen.

With the TV coverage reaching another billion watchers, already the 20th Commonwealth Games has been at the centre of some controversy, after a plan was launched to blow up five of the remaining six red road tower blocks as part of the opening ceremony using a massive 2755 pounds of high explosive was quashed after an online petition to raise awareness of the cultural significance of the 1960s style accommodation attracted thousands to sign up to keep the iconic skyline.

Over the next 40 days, 6500 athletes from 71 nations will battle it out while onlookers on site will be able to get a clear view of the games on Europe’s biggest TV screen. Weighing in at a gargantuan 38 tonnes, the 100 metre wide-screen, covering a whopping 1020 square metres, it is sure to bring all concerned closer to the action. The “window on the world”, as it has been dubbed, will connect the games, the people of the city and the commonwealth together, although just how this will happen is being kept firmly under wraps. David Zolwer Head of ceremonies and artistic director who has been overseeing rehearsals is keeping shtum, adding to the building anticipation.

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is a voluntary intergovernmental association of 53 member states formed in 1949 which have been either directly or indirectly ruled by Great Britain or our Monarch at some point.

Queen Elizabeth II remains the reigning monarch for sixteen of the members, five members having their own monarch with the remainder being republics, each having a common language, history, culture, democracy and human rights.

But let’s face it, it’s the fireworks we are interested in but even with our contacts in the industry we know very little about the pyro that will be fired, such is the secrecy concerned with this event. The little information we have been made aware of, we dare not mention at this point or “heads will roll”.

Here is a clip of the last Commonwealth Games, held in Delhi just to give you an idea of what to expect.

We hope all the competitors perform to the best of their abilities and Good Luck to everyone concerned

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