Stonehaven is a quaint fishing town and frequent tourist destination during the summer months. But it’s not the bars and beaches that draw thousands to this little Scottish town in the middle of winter.
Stonehaven has a rather unique Hogmanay celebration. Before the stroke of midnight, pipers and drummers entertain the throngs people celebrating the new year; building up the excitement for the main event. When the bells sound, the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony begins.
Local men and women swirling large cages of burning fireballs march down the main street to jeering crowds. The event can last anywhere from 20 minutes to a full hour of masterful displays. Once the event ends, the fireballs are hurled into the harbor to the delight of the crowd. Although the event only has a recorded history of 150 years, it’s believed to be much older. The festival symbolizes the burning off of evil spirits, so the new year can begin with a fresh start.
Know Before You Go
The event is free, but accommodations run out fairly quickly.