Scotland’s Young People vote #BRAW as ScotWord, the answer to ‘What makes you proud to live in Scotland?’

[Definition of braw: grand, fine, super, beautiful]

Braw was shortlisted by the young champions because of its positivity and its uniqueness to Scotland, and the public agreed.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicked off three days of fantastic free and ticketed events with the Torchlight Procession this evening, which marked the start of Year of Young People 2018 with a stunning reveal of #ScotWord in Holyrood Park.

Relive the moment here.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicked off the three day festival of fantastic free and ticketed events with the Torchlight Procession this evening, which was declared a major success by organisers Underbelly, who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Torches sold out before the event and in perfect weather conditions approximately 20,000 people, including 17,000 torchbearers, were led by young people performing mass pipes and drums, samba drumming, and 30 Vikings young and old from Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Festival, down the Royal Mile, past Holyrood Palace and the Parliament to form the stunning #ScotWord in Holyrood Park. An additional estimated 25,000 people watched the stunning event.

In a further celebration of the beginning of Year of Young People 2018 it was young performers from across Scotland including Pipe Idol Robbie MacIsaac who beat off three other finalists in the fierce final at Piping Live in 2017, members of Hawick Scout Pipe Band and Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band in Prestonpans that entertained the crowds. Over 20 young pipers and drummers from Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Juvenile Pipe Band joined the procession alongside the rousing sound of talented young brass players from Whitburn Youth Band. Leith samba band Pulse of the Place kept the rhythm with their vibrant young samba sound.

This year young Jarls of the legendary Up Helly Aa Vikings from Shetland took centre stage when the 2017 Jarl Squad championed their young members in their annual appearance at Torchlight Procession, alongside the young #ScotWord champions who led discussions around the country to find the one word which sums up what makes young people proud to live in Scotland.

Together more than 100 young people entertained the procession and spectators, supported with performances by Pyroceltica and fire sculptures by Skyefyre to create a spectacular night.

On stage in Holyrood Park, hot young Scottish pop project Ava Love and the 4-piece indie rock band from Perth & Kinross-shire already making waves Josef Lawrence and the Hypocrites played to amassed crowds while ScotWord #BRAW was revealed for the first time in front of thousands of people.

The #ScotWord campaign was co-designed and led by young people, connecting with their peers between the ages of 8 and 26, encouraging them to choose one word they want to say about Scotland to the rest of the world. The resounding response was #BRAW from a shortlist which also included #CULTURE #WELCOME #HAME #ALIVE #DIVERSE and #BONNIE.

2,000 torch bearers spelt out #BRAW in Holyrood Park at the end of the Torchlight Procession, stretching 104m long and 24m high and visible from space. Images of this launch of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay have been shared around the world putting the young people of Scotland centre stage and heralding the start of the Year of Young People 2018, a year in which Scotland will celebrate its young people and enable them to shine – in this case quite literally – on the Edinburgh stage, the Scottish stage and the international stage.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has joined with One City Trust to support its mission in Edinburgh. A donation from each torch sold was made to the Trust. One City Trust initiates and funds projects in many areas, including education, social welfare, human rights, inequalities and poverty seeking to run initiatives which actively bring people together from across divides, have long-term social inclusion benefits, are low-cost but high-impact and offer innovative and collaborative methods for addressing social exclusion.

The Torchlight Procession is supported by the EventScotland International Events Programme, Year of Young People 2018 Events fund and Scotland’s Winter Festivals Fund.

Underbelly, producers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has worked with a number of partners including the Scottish Government, EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and Young Scot to realise the #ScotWord project. The Young Champions have collectively worked with a hugely diverse range of their peers from a wide range of backgrounds during the campaign, delivering workshops to groups in schools, universities, youth groups and libraries across Scotland including; Who Cares? Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, The Royal Blind School of Edinburgh and Landed Peer Education Service.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is an occasion known the world-over and one that plays a valuable role in reinforcing Scotland as the perfect stage for events.  The spectacular Torchlight Procession has once again started New Year celebrations around the world, giving visitors and locals taking part the opportunity to illuminate the city streets”.

“EventScotland is proud to support the event which this year, in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 has put Scotland’s young people in the driving seat, creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally as part of the #Scotword project.”

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “When we set about designing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018, we wanted to engage the people of Scotland and at the start of Scotland’s Year of Young People, most especially young Scotland. This is a country that empowers young people and has a proud history of discourse that we’re so pleased to see is flourishing. #ScotWord is the blazing voice of Scotland’s young people telling the world why they’re proud to live in this extraordinary country and what better word to sum that up than BRAW? The iconic procession was a huge success made all the more wonderful by the young performers who entertained us all. There is a lot more to come over the next two days and we look forward to sharing our spectacular Street Party with you tomorrow, as well as welcoming families to the first ever Bairns Afore.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “It is a special moment to lead such a breath-taking torchlight procession through Scotland’s capital and to see people come together from all over the world to celebrate the start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. You see the city at its best and you can’t help but feel proud of its streets and its people. This year, the event has raised much needed funds for the OneCity Trust and involved young people from all over Scotland to welcome the Year of Young People 2018. I want to thank every single young Scot involved. Well done.”

Katie Tweedie, #ScotWord Young Champion said: “It has been absolutely incredible to be part of the #ScotWord campaign for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. As a #ScotWord Champion for Midlothian I have engaged with youth groups and charities allowing as many young people as possible to get together and think big about what makes them proud to live in Scotland.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Hundreds of young people have shared what makes them proud of Scotland’s rich and diverse culture. Year of Young People 2018 is an opportunity to further strengthen their voice and celebrate the amazing ideas, talents and achievements which make up our nation’s young people.

“Next year, will provide a platform for young people to take centre stage, with an exciting programme of cultural, music and sporting events taking place across the country for all ages to enjoy. Importantly, it will celebrate their contributions amongst local communities and give them a stronger voice on issues which most affect their lives.”

Hogmanay 2018 is bigger than ever before, new elements include Bairns Afore, Message from the Skies, a revamped Torchlight Procession, Hogmanay HQ, extra stages and activities across the Street Party arena, new viewing areas and the move of The Ceilidh to West Princes Street Gardens under Edinburgh Castle.  

Photo credit: Mike Penman

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