Hogmanay – December 31: Activities, Poets & Quotes

Hogmanay! That enchanting night that ushers in the New Year with flair and festivity. But what is this celebration all about? Dive in with me, and let’s explore the magic together!

As the auld year draws to a close, many cultures around the world prepare to ring in the new with jubilant festivities. But in Scotland, there’s something truly special about their New Year’s Eve celebration, known as Hogmanay. 

It’s a night steeped in ancient traditions, brimming with infectious energy, and guaranteed to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Hogmanay Activities

First Foot:

Be the harbinger of good luck! On New Year’s Day, be the first person to cross the threshold of your loved ones’ homes, bringing symbolic gifts like shortbread, coal (for warmth), and a wee dram of whisky to ensure prosperity in the coming year.

Sing “Auld Lang Syne”:

Join hands with strangers and friends alike as you belt out this iconic Scottish anthem at the stroke of midnight. It’s a soul-stirring moment that embodies the spirit of camaraderie and new beginnings.

Witness the Torchlight Procession:

Immerse yourself in the fiery glow of this Edinburgh spectacle. Thousands of flaming torches illuminate the streets as drummers and pipers weave a hypnotic melody, leading you to an unforgettable Hogmanay concert.

Ceilidh Yourself Wild:

Let loose at a traditional ceilidh, where live Gaelic music and energetic dances like the Strip the Willow and Highland Fling will have you stomping your feet and laughing into the wee hours.

Brave the Stonehaven Fireballs:

Witness the daring spectacle of the Stonehaven Fireball Festival, where locals swing 16-pound balls of fire through the darkness in a breathtaking display of skill and courage.

Warm Your Soul with Haggis:

Savor this iconic Scottish dish, a savory blend of oats, minced sheep organs, spices, and encased in a sheep’s stomach. Don’t be intimidated by the unusual casing, embrace the experience and toast to culinary bravery!

Sink Your Teeth into Black Bun:

This rich fruitcake, packed with spices and soaked in whisky, is a Hogmanay staple. Share slices with friends and family, savoring the sweetness amidst the revelry.


  • Robert Burns: Scotland’s National Bard, renowned for his rich Scots language poems like “Tam o’ Shanter” and “To a Mouse,” celebrating both everyday life and profound emotions.
  • Sir Walter Scott: Novelist and poet, famous for his romantic historical epics like “The Lady of the Lake” and “Waverley,” which painted vivid portraits of Scottish landscapes and folklore.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Master of adventure stories like “Treasure Island” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” whose poetry also displayed lyrical mastery and philosophical depth.
  • Hugh MacDiarmid: A leading figure in the 20th-century Scottish Renaissance, who revitalized Scots language poetry with works like “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle” and “A Clype for Scotland.”
  • Carol Ann Duffy: Scotland’s first Poet Laureate, known for her contemporary and often playful poetry, exploring themes of love, loss, and identity in collections like “Standing Female Figure” and “The World’s Wife.”

Inspiring Hogmanay Quotes, Wishes, and Messages

“May your Hogmanay be filled with the warmth of bonfires, the joy of ceilidhs, and enough whisky to toast a thousand new beginnings. Sláinte Mhath!” 

“Out with the old, in with the bold! Let this Hogmanay be your gateway to adventure, embrace the unknown, and dance with uncertainty. Happy New Year!” 

“May your Hogmanay sparkle brighter than the fireworks, your laughter echo louder than the pipes, and your dreams burn brighter than a flaming whisky barrel. Happy New Year!” 

“Like the first foot crossing the threshold, may your Hogmanay bring good fortune, prosperity, and a heart full of hope. Let’s step into the new year together!” 

“As Auld Lang Syne rings out, remember the memories, hold onto the friends, and embrace the promise of a fresh chapter. Happy Hogmanay!” 

“May your Hogmanay be as wild as a Highland fling, as warm as a wee dram, and as unforgettable as a Stonehaven fireball. Here’s to a roaring good year!”

“Forget the resolutions, this Hogmanay is for raising glasses, sharing stories, and dancing under the stars. Let’s celebrate what makes us human, together.” 

“Like the melting snow of winter, may your worries fade away on Hogmanay. Embrace the clean slate, the open road, and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Happy New Year!” 

“May your Hogmanay be a symphony of joy, a kaleidoscope of laughter, and a chorus of cheers. Let’s make this New Year’s Eve one for the history books!” 

“From cobbled streets to mountain peaks, from roaring fires to whispering wishes, may your Hogmanay be a journey filled with beauty, laughter, and love. Happy New Year!” 

Why Hogmanay Captures Our Hearts

1. Echoes of the Past: Hogmanay’s roots are shrouded in ancient whispers, blending Viking revelry with pagan rituals like Yule log burnings meant to chase away darkness. This rich history infuses the celebration with a touch of magic and intrigue, a reminder of the stories shared across generations.

2. Unbounded Merriment: From the electrifying torchlight processions illuminating Edinburgh’s streets to the foot-stomping ceilidhs where everyone joins the energetic whirl of traditional dances, Hogmanay is a night where inhibitions melt away. It’s a time to laugh until your sides ache, sing until your voice is hoarse, and dance until the sun paints the sky.

3. Warmth Amidst Winter: Hogmanay bursts upon the canvas of a cold winter night, like a bonfire throwing its golden glow against the frosty darkness. Sharing a dram of whisky by a crackling fire, surrounded by loved ones, creates an intimacy that lingers long after the embers fade.

4. A Toast to New Beginnings: As the clock strikes midnight and the haunting melody of Auld Lang Syne fills the air, Hogmanay becomes a ritual of letting go and embracing the unknown. It’s a moment to reflect on the year gone by, raise a toast to fresh possibilities, and step into the new chapter with open arms and hopeful hearts.

5. A Tapestry of Traditions: From the age-old custom of “first footing,” where the first person to cross your threshold brings good luck, to the merry tradition of singing for your supper at doorsteps, Hogmanay is a vibrant tapestry of unique customs woven through generations. These traditions bind communities together, creating a sense of belonging that transcends distance and time.

Hogmanay Dates

2023December 31Sunday
2024December 31Tuesday
2025December 31Wednesday
2026December 31Thursday
2027December 31Friday


What is Hogmanay?

Hogmanay is Scotland’s New Year celebration, a time when communities come together to welcome the upcoming year with joy and optimism.

When is Hogmanay?

Hogmanay takes place on December 31st, marking the end of the year with vibrant celebrations across Scotland.


Hogmanay, with its blend of tradition and modernity, reminds us of the beauty of new beginnings and the importance of cherishing our roots. As the bells chime and the fireworks illuminate the sky, let’s embrace the spirit of Hogmanay, celebrating with gusto and hope.

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