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Fire festivals to enjoy

Events from November to January

Bonfire Night in November is not the end for bonfire building in Scotland, it’s only the beginning. Scotland continues to burn brightly, warming up the winter nights, with fire festivals taking place from November until January.

From Shetland to the Scottish Borders, here are fire festivals which may interest.

Comrie   Flambeaux

Comrie, Perth

Hogmanay   is the biggest celebration in Scotland with many bonfires, fireworks displays   and fire events happening up and down the country. For the villagers of   Comrie in Perth the stroke of midnight on 31 December means it’s time to   begin an ancient custom – setting alight the Flambeaux. Long, thin birch tree   poles are set on fire before being paraded around the village to fend off   evil spirits. The display is accompanied by pipe bands and a fancy dress   parade.

Stonehaven   Fireballs

Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire   welcomes in the New Year with a unique event, the Stonehaven Fireballs   ceremony. The event, which has been held for at least 100 years, is led by a   pipe band who herald in the procession of those walking down the street   swinging great balls of fire above their heads. The fireball ceremony begins   at midnight with entertainment beginning at 11pm. The evening is rounded off   with a firework display to celebrate the New Year.

Burning of   the Clavie

Burghead, Moray

The   1750’s saw the revision of the Julian calendar and the introduction of the   Gregorian calendar which meant New Year was now celebrated on 1January rather   than 11 January. Residents of Burghead have continued to recognise the ‘old   Hogmanay’ with the Burning of the Clavie, a unique fire festival. The clavie,   traditionally a wooden barrel filled with staves, is paraded through the town   and up the to the top of a local hill where it continues to burn into the   next day.

Up Helly   Aa

Lerwick, Shetland

Bringing   the season of fire festivals to a close is Up Helly Aa, Europe’s largest fire   festival. Every year the historic event takes place on the last Tuesday in   January, marking the end of Yuletide, and attracts visitors from both near   and far. A thousand-strong torchlight procession takes place in the village   and ends with the iconic burning of a replica Viking Longship.

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