Hogmanay: Outside the cities

  • The Midgie
  • 1 December 2008
Fire Ball Swinging in Stonehaven

Oban’s Hogmanay Homecoming party
This is likely to be the biggest party Oban has seen in a long time – and you can sense their excitement, by the fact their Hogmanay website has a ticker that is literally counting the seconds until the celebrations begin. With live music from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and a traditional Gaelic choir – as well as the a top-notch food arena - everything’s in place for a great night.
Homecoming Party, Oban, www.obanhogmanay.co.uk, adult £11.50, child £6.50, tickets from www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Burghead ‘Burning of the Clavie’
It does seem that there is rather a lot of setting fire to things that goes on around Hogmanay, so you'd be forgiven for thinking us Scots were a bunch of pyromaniacs. The ‘Burning of the Clavie’ is the lighting of a big cask, which is then carried through the village of Burghead. The ceremony takes place on January 11 (the original Hogmanay before calenders changed in 1660) and the scattered fire embers are snatched up by onlookers, to kindle their own fire and bring new year luck.
Clavie burning, Burghead, 11 Jan, for more info phone 01343 542 666. £tbc.

Fire Ball Swinging in Stonehaven
Sometimes street parties and noisy club nights are just a little too predictable. It must have taken a rather over-active mind to come up with the idea of a fire ball swinging procession as the alternative – but its quite a spectacle. Each ball is unique and can size in at up to 2ft and 18lb in weight. One thing though, fire swinging and drunkenness are not happy bedfellows. It’s safest to let the professionals do their thing, which begs the question: how do they practice without burning their house down?
Fireball Procession, Stonehaven, www.stonehavenfireballs.co.uk

Dervaig Village Hall Ceilidh, Mull
If you’re lucky enough to have secured yourself accommodation on this totty wee island then you can’t beat this traditional old ceilidh dance. Don’t let Mull’s peaceful facade of sheep and farmers fool you into thinking you’ve opted for the quiet alternative though, this is probably one of the liveliest celebrations going on in Scotland over the New Year period. You should also take the opportunity to check out this beautiful little island, which is famous as the home of the children’s show, Balamory.
Ceilidh, Isle of Mull, 01688 400 491, 8pm, free.

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