Happy Hogmanay! Going into 2014…whaaat?
In Scotland New Years Eve is a massive deal full of food, drink, and massive amounts of celebrating. They love it so much that they’ve named it Hogmanay. We were trying to figure out what to do to celebrate Hogmanay and to bring in the new year and Stonehaven came up. Stonehaven is a wee village on the east coast near Aberdeen. It is famous for it’s fireballs…what are fireballs? Balls of fire that locals march up and down the high street with swinging around their heads….usually wearing kilts, no protective gear for these Scots!
I had heard about the Stonehaven Fireballs before so as soon as this came up as an option I was all in! So we grabbed a few friends and made the drive up to Stonehaven. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.
The festivities started a few hours before with a Simple Minds concert in the square and then a parade of drummers and pipers up and down the High Street all wearing traditional kilts (some of them wearing Christmas lights!) . Then a few minutes before midnight the fireballs were lit! It was like nothing I have ever seen. They have been swinging fireballs for over 150 years and one of the guys that was swinging them that night had been doing it for 45 years!
One lady was 65 and had been participating since 1988! I have to be honest and say if anybody wanted to start this as a tradition today Health and Safety would NOT let it proceed. Swinging balls of fire around your heads and marching up and down a street with pedestrians on either side???Probably not 😉 They actually have never had anybody get hurt at all in the 150+ that they have been doing this. SO I was impressed by that because some of the fire balls seemed to have come VERY close to my face 😉 After all the swingers get tired and their fireballs start to fade they parade down to the harbor and throw the fire balls into the sea! Then we finished off the evening with a fireworks display. It was memorable and if you’ve never seen the Stonehaven Fireballs you HAVE to make a trip up to Stonehaven.
Happy 2014 everybody! I am excited for the year ahead!