Alas, Christmas has come and gone and we are approaching another worldly celebration. Few people can ring in the New Year quite like the Scots – they have a magnificent love and appreciation for fire that trumps all other inspiring pyromaniacs.
Each year, tourists from around the globe gather in the small town of Stonehaven in Scotland to witness one of the wildest traditions around. During Hogmanay, the Scottish New Years celebration, the folks in Stonehaven play with fire. Around 45 participants light up the sky as they parade up and down the street and swing fireballs around their heads.
You might ask where such a tradition started and, again, the origins can only be speculated. One belief is that the ceremony was created to encourage sunshine in the region, for the benefit of the people, animals and agriculture. Another theory links the practice to a sort of purification and desire to drive out all negative forces and frighten away monsters. The fireballs are usually made from coal, wood or old jumpers, all doused with paraffin. While it might sound like the material isn’t that strong worry not – all are reinforced with chicken wire and checked to ensure they are safe to use.
The fun kicks off just moments before midnight as the marching band strikes up a tune and the fireballs are lit.
For more information, see the Official Website
When: 11:00pm, December 31st 2012
Where:Stonehaven, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Stonehaven overwhelmed by response to Christmas gift appeal after the town was ravaged by floods (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Clean-up operation underway in Stonehaven as traditional Fireballs show goes on (scotsman.com)