Why everyone should experience Hogmanay
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The joys of Christmas and the New Year are becoming a distant memory, as work, uni and those resolutions you’ve vowed to keep begin to creep back into life. Yet still, a sense of the mystical celebrations that welcomed in 2016 are still being replayed and recollected in your daydreams, and conversations continually progress onto your New Year. It’s one of the best celebrations of the entire year, so you better make sure that you have a good story to tell. Hogmanay is the Scottish way of celebrating the New Year, and it eclipses any attempt the English may try and produce. Sure the fireworks in London are spectacular, and the Toon showcases a brilliant night out, but nothing compares to the magic feeling of the clock changing as you watch Biffy Clyro surround by hundreds of thousands of Scots and see the best fireworks display you’ll see in your life. Hogmanay is an experience, and one everyone should partake in. Armed with a copy of Robinson Crusoe, my journey up to Edinburgh itself was a spectacle, and began my trip in the best style. Hurtling through the world before dawn, and seeing the sunrise is a wonderful spectacle. Passing through Durham in the dark, the mighty cathedral stands imposing and illuminated, creating scenes reminiscent of a postcard, whilst the River Tyne glimmers with lights, a metropolis spanning as far as the eye can see. Seeing the sunrise eclipse the County Durham countryside silhouettes, and breathe life into North-Eastern cityscapes is a sight of extraordinary beauty. The sunrise became truly captivating as the train hit the Northumberland coast, one of the most beautiful areas in the world. A sky filled with hues of pale pink and peach was reflected by the wide expanse of sea, lapping against hidden beaches and grass-fringed cliffs all around. Holy Island was a slowly awakening, whilst hidden fishing villages glowed with the lights of hard work in the pale morning light. The journey into Scotland is truly beautiful, causing the excitement to build. Pulling into the Scottish capital around nine in the morning, I could see that it was going to be busy. People darted about the station frantically, as officials shepherded people calmly and coolly. Already the air was filled with an electricity and a spark that would only strengthen as the day went on. It was in the station I noticed the sheer popularity Hogmanay had to the world. Trains were arriving on an almost minutely basis, heading in from all parts of the UK. But listening to conversations around, accents were much more far-flung. Aussies were out in their droves, clearly regretting their wardrobe choices as the cold bit at them. Chinese tourists posed in front of the majestic architecture boasted by the station. Eastern Europeans practised their English to find out where the tourist sites were hidden. It became apparent that Hogmanay was a truly international experience, yet very uniquely Scottish. The day was spent exploring Edinburgh, taking in the ancient sites as well as taking thousands of photos. The city’s title as being ‘The Athens of the North’ is both just and accurate, with impressive structures lying all over the city; Calton Hill a high concentration of monuments, as well as outstanding views of the city from all angles. It seemed Hogmanay had brought thousands of people together to experience the beauty, as the hill was heaving with tourists, all looking to grab the best photo of the monuments, as well as creating the perfect profile picture with Dugald Stewart Monument in the backdrop.
As the day drew to a close and the sun went down, the city really livened up. Streets became cordoned off. People escorted out of the main centre. Lights shining on buildings to illuminate the night sky. Officials appearing out of nowhere in droves. Something hidden and secret was happening, and soon we would all find out. It seemed the organisers were containing the mystery, heightening the crowd’s excitement and wonder at what was hidden behind these gates.
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