On the Calendar
On the Calendar
Dec. 29–Jan. 2
Hogmanay. Scotland's ancient, still-thriving New Year's celebration, Hogmanay takes place over several days. In rural areas, neighbors "first foot" each other's houses—thereby ensuring the good luck of the household—and toast the new year with a dram. www.edinburghshogmanay.com.
Burns Night. Burns Night dinners and other events are held in memory of poet Robert Burns on his birthday, January 25. Haggis and mashed turnips, whisky, and poetry readings are familiar elements of the supper.
Celtic Connections. Glasgow's immensely popular celebration of Celtic music, Celtic Connections hosts national and international musicians during the last two weeks of January. 0141/353–8000. www.celticconnections.com.
Last Tues. in Jan.
Up-Helly-Aa. Every year, Shetlanders celebrate their Viking heritage and torch a replica Viking longship. The biggest Up-Helly-Aa is in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January. 01595/693434. www.uphellyaa.org.
Late Apr.–Early May
Shetland Folk Festival. This festival is one of the biggest folk gatherings in Scotland, and musicians from all over the world stay up for four days of fiddle frenzy. It normally falls at the beginning of May. 01595/694757. www.shetlandfolkfestival.com.
Beltane Fire Festival. This festival celebrates the rites of spring according to the traditional Celtic calendar on April 30. You can witness displays of pyrotechnics and elaborately costumed mythological creatures at Calton Hill in Edinburgh. 0131/228–5353. www.beltane.org.
Orkney Folk Festival. This annual festival brings the folkies back up to the remote far north by the hundreds. Festivities take place during the last week of May or in early June. 01856/851635. www.orkneyfolkfestival.com.
Highland Games. Held annually in many Highland towns, the Highland Games include athletic and cultural events like hammer throwing, caber tossing, and highland dancing. The fun takes place from May through September. www.visitscotland.com/events.
Edinburgh International Film Festival. The Edinburgh International Film Festival concentrates on the best new films from all over the world; screenings are held over two weeks in June. 0131/228–4051. www.edfilmfest.org.uk.
St. Magnus Festival. The St. Magnus Festival on Orkney is a feast of classical and modern music, often showcasing new vocal or orchestral compositions. It lasts for five days in June. 01856/871445. www.stmagnusfestival.com.
Early Aug.–Early Sept.
Edinburgh International Festival. The world's largest festival of the arts, the Edinburgh International Festival takes place during the last three weeks of August. 0131/473–2000. www.edfringe.com.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The rowdy, unofficial counterpart to the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes over the city during the last three weeks of August. 0131/226–0026. www.edfringe.com.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a stirring, colorful show of marching bands and military regiments. Look for it during the last three weeks in August. 0131/225–1188. www.edintattoo.co.uk.
Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. Kilted clansmen from all over Scotland get together for the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering on the first Saturday in September. Bagpipe bands, dancers, and athletes join in the fun and games. 013397/55377. www.braemargathering.org.
Royal National Mod. This weeklong Gaelic festival includes speech competitions and theatrical performances, in addition to piping, choir, and Highland dancing exhibitions. The location changes each year, but it's generally held in mid-October. 01463/709705. www.acgmod.org.
Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival. This festival concentrates on two of the most popular instruments of folk musicians in Scotland during five days in mid-October. 01595/693162. www.shetlandaccordionandfiddle.com.
Glasgay!. This is a monthlong celebration of gay comedy, music, film, theater, literature, and visual arts from around the world. It takes place in Glasgow for a month in October and November. 0141/552–7575. www.glasgay.com.
Glasgow Loves Christmas. From late November through December, George Square in Glasgow is transformed into a winter wonderland: sparkling ornaments and an impressive palace facade tower over a gigantic ice rink. Festive markets and other seasonal events are part of the program, too. www.glasgowloveschristmas.com.
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