Edinburgh’s Hogmanay launched three days of celebrations with a spectacular Torchlight Procession through the centre of the historic city on Friday 30th December. A record crowd estimated at between 27,000 and 30,000 including 6,500 torch carriers, were led by the Up Helly Aa’ Vikings from Shetland and 5 pipe bands to the bonfire and the burning of an effigy representing this year’s theme of the Year of Creative Scotland and a spectacular Son et Lumière display on Calton Hill.
The event experienced record pre-sales of torches this year, and 6,500 torches; the largest number ever, were all sold out before the start of the procession.
Lord Provost George Grubb said in his opening speech “I can't think of a better place in the world than Edinburgh to “see in” the New Year. Our world famous celebrations are broadcast across the globe, and last year the ‘midnight moment’ of fireworks over the castle was shown in over 150 countries. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all participants in this year's Torchlight Procession and especially to those who are visiting the city for Hogmanay.”
Pete Irvine, Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said “It’s great to start the three days of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay with such a fantastic crowd for the Torchlight Procession. We like to think that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay puts Edinburgh once again in the centre of the world map, and that the experiences that you will enjoy here are because you are in a beautiful city and in the best possible company – the famously friendly Scots.”