Stonehaven's Fireball Festival
Fire festivals, ceremonies and traditions are part of all cultures, and probably have been since Neolithic man first appreciated fire.
The unpredictable behaviour of a flickering flame can be hypnotising. Most ceremonies use fire as a purifying force, a solar symbol or as a means of destroying something perceived as bad. Some can be traced back to pre-Christian times.
Stonehaven’s Fireball Festival at Hogmany is one of the most memorable. It consists of mainly 40 local people of all ages, male and female, swinging flaming wire cages, around their heads. Each cage is filled with combustible material and has a wire handle two or three feet long, this keeps the flames well away from the swinger, but spectators can be vulnerable! Each participant's keep their recipe a secret but the object is to create a fireball that will stay lit and burn brightly for the longest time.
The Stonehaven event starts at midnight, lasts twenty minutes and is watched by thousands. The idea behind the ceremony is to burn off the bad spirits left from the old year, so that the spirits of the new year can come in clean and fresh. From current research, the ceremony would seem to go back a hundred-and-fifty years, but it could easily be much older. The fireballs are extinguished in spectacular fashion as they are hurled into the harbour, and then the New Year is celebrated with fireworks and a party.
Check out the VisitAberdeenshire video below for a sneak peak into what you can expect on the night.
Where: The Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony takes place on the High Street, Stonehaven.
When: People start to gather in the High Street from 10.30pm onwards on December 31st.
There is no entry fee for visitors coming to watch the fireballs ceremony and tickets are not required.
There is an opportunity to make a donation when you enter the event, and these donations help Stonehaven Fireballs Association with the costs associated with running the event.
We are delighted to be included in the Stonehaven community spirit and sponsor the event too.