On the Calendar
On the Calendar
Dec. 29-Jan. 2
Hogmanay. Hogmanay is Scotland's ancient, still-thriving New Year's celebration. Edinburgh's famous celebration several days. In rural areas, neighbors bring gifts to each other's houses—thereby ensuring the good luck of the household—and receive presents in return. 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, whisky, and poetry are familiar elements of the supper.
Celtic Connections. Celtic Connections, Glasgow's annual homage to Celtic music, hosts hands-on workshops and international musicians during the last two weeks of January. 0141/353-8000. www.celticconnections.com.
Last Tues. in Jan.
Up-Helly-Aa. Each year, across the islands' communities, 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. Shetland Folk Festival is one of the biggest folk gatherings in Scotland, set in the heart of fiddle-playing country. The four-day festival normally falls between the last few days of April and the beginning of May. 01595/694757. www.shetlandfolkfestival.com.
Beltane Fire Festival. The 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. Orkney Folk 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. Highland Games, held annually in many Highland towns, include athletic and cultural events such as hammer throwing and caber tossing. Games often take place in summer but can range from May through September. www.visitscotland.com.
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 or July. 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 Edinburgh International Festival, the world's largest festival of the arts, takes place during the last three weeks of August. 0131/473-2000. www.eif.co.uk.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the rowdy, unofficial escort of the Edinburgh International Festival that 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; dates are the last three weeks in August. 0131/225-1188. www.edintattoo.co.uk.
Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. The Braemar Royal Highland Gathering hosts kilted clansmen from all over Scotland 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. The Royal National Mod is a weeklong Gaelic festival with speech competitions and plays (in Gaelic), in addition to piping, choir, and Highland dancing performances. The location changes each year, but it's generally held in mid-October. 01463/709705. www.the-mod.co.uk.
Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival. Shetland Accordion and Fiddle 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!. Glasgay! is a monthlong celebration of gay comedy, music, film, theater, visual art, performance art, and literature from around the world. It takes place in Glasgow from October through part of 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 Christmas 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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