Hogmanay fireballs ceremony in Stonehaven

Stonhaven fireballers

I spent New Years Eve 2014 in Scotland to see a very curious custom: the fireball parade in Stonehaven.

Stonehaven is a little village near Aberdeen and it seemed like the whole village plus a few tourists gather to see the fireballers at midnight. The idea is that the fire burns the bad spirits of the old year to make space for fresh spirits of the new year.

The beginning of the parade at midnight:

Stonhaven fireballers

Stonhaven fireballers

I think it’s all local people who join into this ceremony and they create their own fireball contraptions. Stonhaven fireballers

They swing the fireballs around their heads the whole way up and down this little street that connects the harbour and the village centre.Stonhaven fireballers

It looked like really hard work! And a bit dangerous at that, too. Can you see the sparks flying?

We were standing at the end of the street where the fireballers made a u-turn and many had to let the fireball drop to the ground and take a little break.Stonhaven fireballersThe parade starts at midnight and goes on for about half an hour or so. At the end the fireballs are dropped into the sea. Unfortunately there was no way we could have made our way to see that highlight because it was so crowded.
Stonhaven fireballersI noticed some fireballs pre-lighting on our way to the parade.
Stonhaven fireballers Quite an interesting thing to watch! And certainly a very local event. No music, no fuss, just sparks and fire. And crowds of people!

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