Very beautiful and spectacular celebration takes place on the last day of the year in Scotland. Here the New Year is called Hogmanay and originates from the Vikings, who paid great importance to the shortest winter day. But it became especially popular during the period from the 16th century to the mid 20th century.
After the Protestant Reformation in Scotland in 1517 Presbyterianism became the state religion, which prohibited Catholic worship and celebration of Christmas, so for several centuries the New Year became the main Scottish winter holiday. The name Hogmanay still causes much controversy. According to some historians, it comes from the Gaelic "oge maidne", which means "new morning", while others believe that the name of the holiday derived from the Anglo-Saxon "Haleg Moneth" - "the holy month".
The main attribute of Hogmanay is fire in all its manifestations. There are held torch-light processions, fired giant bonfires, fireworks and burned all kinds of dolls. It is believed that the fire lit on December 31 will save people and their homes from the evil spirits and illnesses for the whole year. In different cities of Scotland fire shows has its own features. For example, in Edinburgh it is a torchlight procession, where 15 000 torchbearers march through the city with a wooden Viking ship model, which is burned in the end of the ceremony. Another tradition exists in Stonehaven (Aberdeenshire), where on the town square on the night of January 1st several hundred men twist the huge fired balls, suspended on two-meter chains. Hogmanay in Scotland is very popular among the tourists from all over the world and every year hundreds of thousands of people comes to participate in this historic celebration.