Arguably the biggest and best celebrated festival of the year, Scotland knows how to usher in a New Year. The celebration of the turn of the year is called Hogmanay in Scotland, and the country rolls out a host of spectacular winter festival events across the regions.

Their biggest and most eminent festive celebration is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, an impressive festival of events run over three days. Celebrations include one of the biggest street parties in the world with live music and top rate entertainment, like the spectacular midnight fireworks display and the torch procession.

Firework display at Stirling Castle on hogmanay

Firework display at Stirling Castle on hogmanay

But you don’t have to be in Edinburgh to enjoy New Year festivities. Scotland’s larger towns and cities like Glasgow, Inverness, Stirling and Aberdeen also host all night parties. Plus many towns and villages have their own fabulous traditional celebrations on the big night. Pubs host Ceilidhs, fireworks, fire displays, feasts and live music, so there is plenty going on around and about. If you were perhaps not looking to join a big knees up, but wanted to bring in the New Year with close friends and family, there are plenty of opportunities to rent secluded Hogmanay holiday homes to enjoy the turn of the year privately.

As the scene setter for Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland knows New Year celebrations better than most. But here are some things about Scotland’s New Year you may not have known:

The origin of the word Hogmanay is not really known, although it is thought to be inherited from the Vikings. However, it is the word used by the Scots for the last day of the year, and is nowadays synonymous with celebrating the New Year in a Scottish style.

  • Historically in Scotland, Christmas has not always been a recognised festival, and Hogmanay was the traditional celebration of the season.
  • Auld Lang Syne is a song recognised in many English speaking countries as the New Year song, and was written by Scotland’s Robert Burns.
  • The Guinness Book of Records recognises Auld Lang Syne as the most frequently sung song in English.
  • Many Scots still celebrate the First Footing, a tradition of welcoming guests into your home at the start of a new year. It is considered good luck to welcome a dark haired male as the first foot in the house after midnight, who should bear traditional symbolic gifts.
  • New Years Day sees the tradition of The Loony Dook, which takes place in the Firth of Forth at Queensferry, where thousands of people plunge into the water for a freezing cold dip, to raise money for charity.

Hogmanay Group Accommodation

So if you have decided to rent a large holiday home to accommodate your friends and family over New Year, there are a few things you need to think about when planning your special trip.

It is very easy to get carried away with the romanticism of New Year in Scotland, but it’s worth remembering that planning for a holiday away is always a busy and exciting time, and there are plenty of things to think about. In the bustle of trying to remember what to take with you, don’t forget about what you leave behind. Before embarking on your holiday away, there are a few things to remember to do to keep you and your home safe and sound.

  • Inform your neighbours of your plans, if they are sticking around they could keep an eye on your house for you.
  • Adjust your thermostat. Your house doesn’t need to be kept toasty warm if you are not there, but you don’t want anything to freeze either. Turning it down a few clicks will save you a bit on your winter bill.
  • Water your plants, and your Christmas tree if you have a real one up!
  • Purchase an automatic timer and leave a lamp in your hall or landing, set to come on in the evenings. This season tends to be an ‘easy pickings’ time for burglars, so do your best to deter opportunists.
  • Make sure you have breakdown cover, and have all the contact details you need on you when you travel. Should the worst happen, it’s a busy time on the roads, and you don’t want to get stuck!
  • Before you leave the house, make sure you have packed some ‘must have’ items that you may not want to be without! Take some medical provisions, because Christmas is a horrible time to be ill. Some cold and flu remedies, paracetamol, and a bottle of Calpol for the kids is a must. Don’t forget batteries and chargers. There are so many electronic devices around these days, don’t get caught short with a flat iPad battery, or a fancy new toy that can’t be used. Do you need your phone book? Most people have all the contacts they need in their phones these days, but just have a think before you leave, is there any one you would want to call to wish a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year? And do you have their number?!

Don’t forget that bigger holiday homes book well in advance and the best ones go first. You can browse through all our group accommodation in Scotland with availability for Hogmanay.