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Scotland's Winter Festivals

December 2016

The Street of Light on George Street, Edinburgh. An architectural installation of over 60,000 lights along the west end of Geroge Street which synchronise to music by choirs and musicians from across Edinburgh.

The Street of Light on George Street, Edinburgh. An architectural installation of over 60,000 lights along the west end of Geroge Street which synchronise to music by choirs and musicians from across Edinburgh.


It may be dark and cold, but there is plenty of reason for cheer at this time of year. Think trees festooned with twinkling lights, outdoor ice rinks, bustling Christmas markets and the aroma of mulled wine – make no mistake, the festive season is upon us.

Whether you’re a Scot at home or abroad – take the time this winter to celebrate Scotland’s distinctive culture and heritage with dear family and friends. Look forward to a magical Christmas, a sparkling Hogmanay and Burns Night festivities. Wherever you are in Scotland, there are great events, entertainment, shopping experiences and festive cheer to warm up winter days and nights.

Learn more about Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

For the ultimate guide on how to make the most out of the Scottish winter, download our FREE ebook: The A-Z of Winter in Scotland

Princes Street Gardens at Christmas
Princes Street Gardens at Christmas: Day

Hogmanay

Hogmanay is what we Scots call New Year's Eve on 31 December. Its origins date back to ancient times when people would gather to celebrate the winter solstice. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the biggest winter festival in Europe and features events including a torchlight procession, huge street party and the famous 'Loony Dook', a chilly sea-swimming event on New Year’s Day. But there are plenty of other exciting Hogmanay celebrations and unique traditions held throughout the country. Discover more.

Princes Street Gardens at Christmas
Princes Street Gardens at Christmas: Night

Burns Night

Every 25 January, people around the world celebrate Burns Night, a holiday held in honour of the life and work of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns.

Burns lived from 1759 to 1796 is best known worldwide for composing the lyrics to the traditional New Year’s – Hogmanay in Scotland – standard Auld Lang Syne.

The holiday is celebrated with time-honoured traditions such as haggis, whisky and bagpipes, and of course, recitations of the poetry of Burns. Those seeking a greater insight into Burns and his cultural impact on not just Scotland but the world, can visit Burns Cottage, found in Alloway, South Ayrshire, which is part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.


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