Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve in Edinburgh = best party ever.

I've had some pretty fun New Year's Eves. Last year I had a low-key evening in Gatlinburg, starting the evening with Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede (yes, that is a real thing), and ending it watching fireworks over the Smoky Mountains. The night of Y2K, I was in the basement newsroom of CBS News in New York City, taking in and logging live feeds of celebrations on the hour (and the half-hour in Newfoundland) as each time zone welcomed the year 2000. I've also performed at some crazy parties, and I've had loads of good times. Last night's Edinburgh celebration might have topped them all.

The party began on December 30 with the Torchlight Procession (see yesterday's blog), and it continues through tomorrow (Jan 2) with yet another day off work for employees here. That's four days of celebration, for those of you who can't do math with a hangover.

Last night, about 80,000 people attended the street parties on Princes Street, with thousands of other people taking to various other parties around the city. We joined some good friends for a viewing party on top of Calton Hill, where we had a clear view of the street party and the hourly (yes, HOURLY!) fireworks atop Edinburgh Castle. Not only could we see the light show from across town, but there were fireworks literally exploding above our heads, as Calton Hill was host to its own spectacular. Once the cannon (at the castle) fired at midnight, the fireworks lasted about five minutes, -- I know, it's nothing compared to the forty-minute Thunder Over Louisville -- but I must say that a five-minute show in a medieval city is plenty. The whole town looks like a fairy tale, and, I'm sorry, but I get bored with Thunder Over Louisville. Now if Louisville had a castle, maybe that would change, but...

Also, singing "Auld Lang Syne" with thousands of other folks in the country where Robert Burns wrote it was pretty cool. David attempted to follow-up "Auld Lang Syne" with the traditional singing of "New York, New York," but that didn't catch on for some reason.

Not having been familiar with Hogmanay, I know that most of you are in doubt that Edinburgh celebrates New Year's any better than other world cities. You are wrong. That is fact. Edinburgh hosts one of the largest New Year's parties in the world, and has a population of only 500,000. This party rivals the Kentucky Derby, and that's saying something.

And the Scots love New Year's! I haven't seen that much cheer and joy since the Yankees won the 1996 World Series -- complete strangers hugging on the street, introducing themselves, reveling, and making new best friends.

Also -- and this I still cannot fathom, despite having packed a backpack last night -- it's BYOB. Even the ticketed street party! It's as if the Derby Infield suddenly would allow you to bring in booze. Except the Scots are more well-behaved than Derby revelers...

If you want to read some more about the history of Hogmanay, try this article, which explains how Christmas was banned here for hundreds of years and why New Year's takes precedence. Now it's time to get ready for the New Year's Games ... Hangover Day isn't until January 2 in Scotland.

Happy New Year!

Here is a video I found on YouTube. It was filmed from the park across from our flat. But we were directly underneath the fireworks on the left of the screen. Also, there were several more fireworks displays in other parts of the city ... wild!

1 comment:

  1. The New Year Celebration in Edinburgh is really amazing. The Scottish capital is one of the best places in the the world to be on New Year's Eve. It is a great experience.