Hogmanay is a Scottish name for New Year's Eve (31 December) and the celebrations that happen on that day. Known, as Scotland's biggest and noisiest event, Hogmanay is celebrated with full jest and enthusiasm in Edinburgh.
Hogmanay was introduced to the Scots by the invading Vikings in 8th and 9th century. Cleansing the house, taking out ashes from the fire and clearing all debts are some traditions that are counted as part and parcel of New Year in Scotland. One of the most spectacular customs that can be seen during New Year in Scotland is the swinging of giant fireballs on long metal poles.
It is a time for merry-making, the giving of presents and the observance of the old custom of First-Footing which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses until 3 January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year.
One of the most interesting of Scottish Hogmanay celebrations is the Flambeaux Procession at Comrie, Perthshire. Such processions can be traced back to the time of the ancient Druids. There is a procession of townsfolk in fancy dress carrying large torches. They are led by pipers. When the procession has completed its tour, the flambeaux (torches) are thrown into a pile, and everyone dances around the blaze until the torches nave burned out.