Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony - New Year's Celebration

"What is commonly called "The Fireballs" is a colorful annual festival, unique to Stonehaven, attracting thousands of spectators in festive mood. The ceremony is not only Stonehaven's way of welcoming the New Year, but it also provides a gathering point for the town's "ain folk", some home from distant lands, to greet relatives and old friends, mingling happily with visitors from home and overseas who have come to enjoy a Scots Hogmanay" 


This year we decided to go with a group of friends to Stonehaven for our New Year's celebration, or as they say in Scotland, Hogmanay. We bought two bus tickets for about £40 total because parking in Stonehaven for the fireballs would be mad. The bus was a great idea and worth the money. I apologize for the blurry pictures. I was trying not to blind too many people.

The bus dropped us off around 8:00 PM. We walked to a local pub, the Marine Hotel, to grab a spot outside and get some drinks. It was about 35 degrees (F), and we were freezing! I kept asking Steve to get me hot drinks, and Laine shared some of her hot chocolate and Bailey's with me. Yum! Speaking of, for more pictures, you can check out Laine's blog.

Photo Courtesy Falene Petrik

I got really cold and started dancing to the drumming to warm up. I told them all, "I might look silly, but I'm warmer than YOU! HA!"   ~Photo Courtesy Falene Petrik~

Steve all bundled

Falene and I.

After sitting in the cold for 4 hours, the festival finally began. We didn't realize until quite a bit later that the festival was ending on the street where we set up camp. At the end of the fireball march, they throw them into the harbor near where we were sitting. We got up to push our way through the crowds and find a spot to watch. So what is this fireball ceremony? Here is what the Stonehaven Fireballs Association says:

"Although the Stonehaven fireball-festival is now nothing but a spontaneous tourist attraction, two very different explanations of the origin of similar pagan fire customs have been given:
  1. On the one hand it is supposed that they were sun-charms or magical ceremonies intended to ensure the necessary supply of sunshine for men, animals and plants by parading fires which mimic on earth the source of light and heat in the sky. This may be called the solar theory.
  2. On the other hand it is maintained that ceremonial fires were simply purificatory in intention, designed to destroy all harmful influences, whether personal like witches, demons and monsters or impersonal as a kind of pervading taint or corruption of the air. This may be called the purification theory."

I also took a couple of videos. The first one was taken before it began while they were playing the national anthem. One of the guys in the crowd gets annoyed that not enough people are singing. Check it out. It gives me a good chuckle every time I watch/listen to it.

The next video shows the fireball ceremony. Enjoy!

Now that we know where the ceremony occurs and that we can push our way into a spot where we can see, I think if we go again, we'll camp INSIDE.

Just For Fun (Missed these didn't you?):

How to thaw bacon quickly and economically when you live in colder climates:



  1. I can see that you just are putting a tons of efforts into your blog page. Hold posting the good function.Some really helpful information in there. Bookmarked. Nice to see your website. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad that you found the information helpful. I try to give enough information so that others can see what's out there and have some tips to help them navigate the event if they choose to go themselves. Cheers


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