WHERE: Stonehaven, Scotland
WHEN: 31 December 2023
Hogmanay, or the Scottish New Year, is a particularly heartfelt celebration throughout the country, with more or less spectacular celebrations almost everywhere.
Edinburgh, for example, has a very rich program that lasts for 3 days.
Among the most spectacular festivals, a place of honor must be given to the town of Stonehaven which, every year, attracts thousands of visitors with its Fireballs. A ceremony with which, for over a century, the inhabitants of Aberdeenshire have welcomed the new year.
A purifying ritual with fire and flames which, according to tradition, aims to burn the evil spirits of the year just ended. In this way, the new year can start in the best way. And there’s nothing better than doing it, admiring the Stonehaven Fireballs procession.
A totally free event where you can admire the extraordinary courage of men and women (the so-called swingers) who spin incandescent balls on their heads.
Photo ©, MrPurple
Stonehaven is located in Aberdeenshire, easily reachable in less than an hour by train or bus from Aberdeen, and in just over a couple of hours from the capital.
The Stonehaven Fireballs ceremony takes place along the very central High Street, one of the city’s main arteries, adjacent to the port (Old Pier) and where the Clock Tower is located, which has been the pride of the inhabitants since 1790.
It starts around 11.00 pm with shows and entertainment, waiting for the new year, with a musical band, drums and bagpipes.
Just before midnight the music of the band starts. The tolling of the bell marks the official start of the new year and the swingers invade the High Street with their fireballs.
The procession takes place along the road to the Old Port.
The procession is dominated by about 40 men and women who spin fireballs on their heads.
The Stonehaven Fireballs show is completely free.
There is a roadside, promptly cordoned off for safety reasons.
It is preferable to arrive around 10:30 pm, if not earlier. In fact, from 11.00 pm access to the High Street can be closed at any time when maximum capacity is reached.
There is no shortage of daredevils who meet long before 22:00.
If you arrive by car, consider the difficulty of finding parking. In this case it is preferable to arrive a couple of hours early and leave your car further away from the port.
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