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Alex Mellon & Joe Brooks / © Culture Trip
Alex Mellon & Joe Brooks / © Culture Trip

10 Things to Do for New Year's Eve 2017 in Edinburgh

Picture of Deborah Chu
Updated: 12 April 2018
For those not in the know, New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal in Scotland. More commonly known as Hogmanay in this country, celebrations on the December 31 often dwarf even that of Christmas, as the latter was not officially deemed a public holiday in Scotland until 1958. So if you’re lucky enough to bid adieu to 2017 in Edinburgh, read on to get the most out of this spectacular holiday before 2018 is upon us for good.

Torchlight procession

30 December 2017, 7pm

Join in a time-honoured tradition and begin 2018 in a blaze of glory. Every year, the Royal Mile is transformed into a river of light as thousands of torch-bearers march down towards Holyrood Park, led by a troop of drums and pipes. This tradition is a throwback to Hogmanay’s Nordic roots, when the Vikings would celebrate the Winter Solstice with fire aplenty, as it was seen as a tool for purification and driving away evil spirits. This year the procession will culminate with the torches spelling out a one-word answer to the question “What makes you most proud to live in Scotland,” as chosen by young Scots to celebrate the beginning of Scotland’s Year of Young People in 2018.

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, UK

Near the bottom of Calton Hill
Near the bottom of Calton Hill | © Jenni Douglas / Flickr

Candlelit concert

31 December 2017, 7:30pm

If you’re looking to bid farewell to 2017 in a more intimate environment, then head to St. Giles Cathedral for the annual Candlelit Concert. The St. Giles Cathedral Choir and the St. Giles Camerata will be performing J. S. Bach’s ‘Lutheran Mass in F’ to commemorate the end of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary year, as well as George Frideric Handel’s ‘Organ Concerto Op. 4 No. 2 in B flat’, before closing with Handel’s famous ‘Dixit Dominus’. Such soaring choral music in this magnificent venue must be heard to be believed.

St. Giles Cathedral, High Street, Edinburgh, UK

Candlelight | © PFNKIS / Flickr

Street Party

31 December 2017, 7pm

Ready for a wild night out? Princes Street will be transformed into the largest new year’s party in the world, with street performers, fire-eaters, acrobats, DJs, live music and so much more on show for the perfect send-off to the year. Headliners this year include The Human League, Treacherous Orchestra and Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin’ Criminals. As it’s an outdoor festival, be sure to dress warmly for the weather, but don’t worry – there will be plenty of mulled wine to take the edge off the chill.

Princes Street, Edinburgh, UK