Torchlight Procession Makes A “Braw” Start to Hogmanay Festival

Submitted by edg on Sun, 31 Dec '17 6.54am

Edinburgh’s 3-day Hogmanay festivities lit up the Old Town and Holyrood Park last night with the annual torchlight procession.

Following a different route, under new Edinburgh's Hogmanay organisers Underbelly, the opening event of the New Year’s festival saw around 17,000 torchbearers form a river of fire down the Royal Mile, process past Holyrood Palace and the Parliament up to Holyrood Park.

At the head of the procession, 2,000 torch bearers led the way to Holyrood Park and spelt out the Scots word #BRAW with their torches. The word was chosen by young people across Scotland in the #Scotword competition to describe what makes them “proud to live in Scotland in one word”. The winning #ScotWord, which was kept secret up until the night of the procession, marks the start of the Year of Young People 2018, a year in which Scotland will celebrate its young people and “enable them to shine” on the public stage.

The #ScotWord campaign was co-designed and led by young people, connecting with their peers between the ages of 8 and 26. The resounding response was #BRAW from a final shortlist which included #CULTURE #WELCOME #HAME #ALIVE #DIVERSE and #BONNIE. Organisers suggested "grand, fine, super, and beautiful" as a definition for braw - for a more in-depth etymology there's the Dictionary of the Scots Language.

The flaming “BRAW” stretched 104m long and 24m high and, say organisers, was “visible from space”.

“When we set about designing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018, we wanted to engage the people of Scotland and at the start of Scotland’s Year of Young People, most especially young Scotland," said Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in a release.

"This is a country that empowers young people and has a proud history of discourse that we’re so pleased to see is flourishing. #ScotWord is the blazing voice of Scotland’s young people telling the world why they’re proud to live in this extraordinary country and what better word to sum that up than BRAW?"

Leading the procession of torch-bearing members of the public were young people performing mass pipes and drums, samba drummers, and 30 Vikings young and old from Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Festival.

More than 100 young people entertained the procession and spectators, supported by performances from Pyroceltica and fire sculptures by Skyefyre.

Scots pop project Ava Love and 4-piece indie band Josef Lawrence and the Hypocrites played on stage during the big, flaming #ScotWord reveal.

With torches sold out before the event and “perfect” weather conditions, organisers declared the new iteration of the torchlight procession “a huge success”.

Added Wood and Bartlam: "There is a lot more to come over the next two days and we look forward to sharing our spectacular Street Party with you tomorrow, as well as welcoming families to the first ever Bairns Afore.”