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Scotland - Events - Traditional Festivals


Hogmanay - Scottish New Year
December 31
Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year, celebrated rather exuberantly in street parties throughout the country. Celebrations start early in the evening and continue until the bells chime in the New Year and every one sings Auld Lang Syne. The origins of the festival reach far into the pagan past of Scotland with fire and sun worship in the depths of winter. Today the biggest Festivals are held in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.


First footing
January 1
"First footing" is a New Year' Day tradition. According to this tradition the "first foot" in the house after midnight should be male and should carry coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky.
In Kirkwall, Orkney, there is a New Year Ba' Game - an ancient form of football played by around 200 men in the village streets.

Burning of the Clavie
January 11
Celebration for the Celtic New Year
Burghead, Morayshire

Robbie Burns Night
January 25
On January 25 the life and work of Scottish poet Rabbie Burns is celebrated with a ritual of food, drink and poetry.
January 25 is the birthday of Scotland's most famous poet. The Burns Supper was started by his friends a few years after his death in 1796 as a tribute to his memory. It has now become a celebration of Scottishness.


StAnza - Scotland's Poetry Festival
The only regular festival dedicated to poetry in Scotland, StAnza is international in outlook. Held in the ancient university town of St Andrews, the festival presents world class poets and writers performing in exciting, atmospheric venues.


Beltane's Day
May 1
A pagan fire festival which goes back to pre-Christian times originating with Baal in Phoenicia.


Selkirk Common Riding

June 18
Celebration of the Battle of Flodden (June 1488)


Glasgow Fair
Last two weeks of July, the fair dates from 1190.


Military Tattoo Festival

First three weeks of August

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