In Scotland, people like to celebrate and often do things that seem bizarre to the visitor, such as throwing logs, chopping stones or burning ships. However, many festivals are only celebrated locally.
The following are the main festivals in Scotland in alphabetical order.
The Blair Atholl Highlands Gathering
at the end of May is the Blair Atholl Highlands Gathering, in whose parade the Atholl Highlanders – the only private army in Scotland – take part. During the competitions, stones are lifted into barrels or you measure yourself in a tug of war.
The Celtic Connection is a local folk festival and takes place in Gasgow in the second half of January with around 300 concerts and workshops.
Between June and August you can experience Common Ridings in many towns in the border region of Scotland. It is a mixture of fair, music parade and costumed equestrian festival.
Edinburgh Festival International Fringe
This festival spans three weeks, originally a spontaneous and alternative street theater festival. This festival has long been established and today offers over 1,500 productions from all over the world.
At the festival time in August, Edinburgh’s population doubles and over 400,000 visitors come to the city. Laypeople and professionals alike appear here:
comedians, jugglers, pantomimes, dancers and jugglers perform in clubs and in public places – especially in front of the National Gallery.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place at the same time as the Edinburgh International Festival and has developed into one of the largest art festivals in the world in recent years.
In contrast to the established artists of the Edinburgh International Festival, the youngsters are presented here. One of the best opportunities on the European cultural calendar for young artists to get noticed
At the turn of the year you can experience the Scots in Edinburgh. On December 29th there is a torchlight procession that ends with a bonfire on Calton Hill. A street carnival will be held on George Street on December 30th.
The Royal Bank Street Party takes place on New Year’s Eve, and the participants wear evening wear. At midnight they sing the New Year’s Eve anthem “Auld Lang Syne” together. This is followed by the so-called “First Footing”, in which you knock on strangers or friends with the lights on, because the first visit in the new year is supposed to bring good luck.
Edinburgh International Science Festival
At the beginning of April, the Edinburgh International Science Festival will showcase new research and scientific discoveries.
Folk Festival In mid-April the city celebrates the Edinburgh Folk Festival.
Folk Fest on Orkney
This local festival on the Orkney Islands with the main island Mainland takes place in the third week of May.
Folk Festival in Arran
The Folk Festival on the Isle of Arran is a local event and is celebrated the second week of June. The island covers an area of 430 km² – with around 5,000 residents.
The island is located in the Firth of Clyde in western Scotland
Robert Burns ‘Birthday
On January 25th, Robert Burns’ birthday is celebrated in restaurants and pubs across Scotland with whiskey, haggis and, of course, the reading of his poems.
Robert Burns (1759-1796) was a Scottish poet who wrote numerous poems, political texts and songs.
His most famous song is Auld Lang Syne, which has now become part of the British tradition.
Burns counts next to Walter Scott () as the most important Scottish poet who enjoys an almost ritual veneration in the country.
Glasgow on Ice
In George Square, anyone can skate for a month on the largest outdoor ice rink in Europe. Of course there are also special themed evenings and the popular ice discos.
Information on tel. 0871-2003940
The Glastonbury Festival is the largest outdoor festival in the world. It is best known for its music programming, but it also features contemporary dance, theater, and comedy performances.
Herring Queen Festival In
late July/early August, the herring queen is elected at the Herring Queen Festival in the village of Eyemouth.
The Highland Games, which take place across Scotland from June to September, are one of the largest and most important festivals in the country. Originally they were part of the meeting of Scottish clans in the Highlands.
Nowadays, however, they are celebrated all over the world where a large number of Scots live.
The largest agricultural show in Scotland takes place in Edinburgh in the last week of June.
The most spectacular military parade in the world extends over a period of three weeks and takes place on the esplanade in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Performers from over 30 countries ensure that the almost 220,000 on-site viewers and 100 million in front of the screen are superbly entertained by these international favorites, 35% of the visitors come from abroad.
On this day, the victims of the First World War and other wars are commemorated in Scotland and throughout Great Britain, as well as in France and Belgium.
In general, the official ceremony is attended by war veterans. King George V introduced Remembrance Day on November 7, 1919.
Royal Highland Gatherings
On the first Saturday in September, the Royal Highland Gatherings take place in the village of Braemar in the Highlands. Members of the royal family even appear at the festival.
Shetland Folk Festival
In the last week of April, the Shetland Folk Festival takes place on the Shetland Islands with its capital Lerwick.
Skye & Lochalsh
The second week of July hosts the largest Gaelic festival, Skye & Lochalsh. With an area of 1,656 km², the island of Sky is the largest and most famous island in the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland.
The village of Kyle of Lochalsh is across from Skye on the Skye Bridge, built in 1995
St. Magnus Festival
The St. Magnus Festival begins in mid-June and is celebrated in the Orkney Islands for a full week.
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival
This festival takes place annually on the 31st in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands. One of the highlights is the burning of a Viking boat.
World Pipe Band Championships
Slide World Pipe Band Championships is the bagpiper’s biggest event. Over 5,000 musicians from up to 250 bands around the world take part; they also come from Canada, the US, Australia, and other countries.