The Arts in Scotland covers a wide range of areas. World class museums, fantastic festivals and breathtaking architecture are the tip of the ice burg. The cultural attractions are wide ranging and certainly unique to Scotland. There are many events that occur during the calendar year and are a showcase of Scottish culture. At the end of each year the New Year is celebrated as enthusiastically as everywhere else but in Scotland it is done quite differently.
In Scotland this time is known as the “Hogmany” and in Edinburgh there is a three day festival to celebrate it. On December 30th there is the torch light precession where thousands of revelers march through the heart of Edinburgh. It creates a river of fire winding its way from the Royal Mile to Calton Hill where there is a fireworks festival. On New Year’s Eve itself the New Year is brought in with a huge garden party underneath Edinburgh Castle. Live music, giant screens, bars and DJ’s create the atmosphere that come to a crescendo at midnight with a firework display and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
The following day the celebration is finished off with the Loony Dook. This involves revelers first taking part in the Dookers parade in fancy dress costume, before plunging into the River Forth at South Queensferry. Around the world the New Year is celebrated by the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the song was created by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. Each year on January 25th the life of the poet is celebrated with Burns Night.
The event revolves around groups of people eating a traditional supper of Haggis. Recitals are spoken whisky is drunk, Burns is toasted and at the end of the evening Auld Lang Syne is sung. For three days in late August is the annual Cowal Highland Gathering. Situated on the west coast in Dunoon this event is the largest Highland games in the world. This involves dancers, pipers and heavy sporting events, amongst the wide variety of events. The sporting events include throwing events such as the shot and the hammer, Scottish wrestling and there are also traditional events such as the tug of war and tossing the Caber. The event is well attended and the last competition in the main stadium is always the tossing of the caber.
Perhaps Scotland’s most famous festival is the annual Edinburgh Summer Festival that is held each year. Seven separate festivals are held between late June and the end of August and they include the film festival, the art festival, the jazz and blues festival, the book festival, the fringe festival, the military tattoo and the international festival. There is not a festival in the world that covers such a wide range of cultural events. One of the most unique festivals in the world is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It spans for 25 days and in 2017 it contained 53,232 performances that were held in 300 venues.
The beauty of the event is that anyone can perform as there is no selection committee. The acts include comedy, dance, theatre, opera, cabaret and circus and tourists will visit the event seeing several shows a day. The participators will range from school theatre productions to performers who are looking to progress their career. There is no other festival that can compare with the fringe and is seen as being of the nation’s largest tourist attractions.
The summer months will invariably see the holding of a major golf championship in the country. Scotland is seen as being seen as being the home of the sport as it was first played in the country in the 15th century. In 1764 the first 18 hole golf course was created at St Andrews, and the first Open Championship was held at the Prestwick Golf Club in 1860. In the 146 times it has been played it has been held in Scotland on 95 occasions and St Andrews has hosted the event 29 times, which is more than anywhere else. The magnificent venues that are available are now steeped in history and are a major part of Scotland’s culture and heritage.