Helen Martin: Edinburgh's Hogmanay is as Scottish as Kanamara Matsuri

HOGMANAY is a big money-maker for the businesses involved. So said Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens when he was commenting on organiser Underbelly's scheme to recruit 300 unpaid volunteers to work on the event.

Monday, 4th December 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 12:58 pm
Edinburgh's money-spinning Hogmanay celebrations have nothing to do with a traditional Scottish New Year. Picture: Greg Macvean

He was absolutely right. Only the businesses involved and the hospitality industry (much of which isn’t headquartered in the Capital) reap the profits.

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Tourists, and some locals, enjoy it. Some residents hate their city being turned into “Blackpool”, wrapped in barricades, and emitting deafening noise and explosions.

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As one reader tweeted, it was akin to treating Hogmanay as the Olympics. At least the Olympics changes venue every four years. This is a commercial exercise, not a vehicle for the introduction of duped, voluntary slavery.

Tradition after The Bells is first-footing friends and family in their homes, dispensing lumps of coal and eating black bun.

Apart from singing Auld Lang Syne and kissing and swigging at midnight, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is fake and about as Scottish as the ancient Kanamara Matsuri (if you don’t know what that is, Google it).