Posted by: brigid benson | December 30, 2016

Adieu 2016!

Burning up the old year, welcoming the new: the hogmanay bonfire of Biggar

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The extraordinary hogmanay bonfire of Biggar

The Scottish ritual of hogmanay ushers out the old year and welcomes the new.  And while there’s much tradition around whisky drinking with neighbours and taking a sod of peat or lump of coal for their fire, the South Lanarkshire town of Biggar celebrates hogmanay in a wildly pagan way.

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Holding their breath! Homes and public buildings close by the Biggar bonfire

In awesome annual spectacle, the citizens build one of the biggest bonfires imaginable on a public highway, using Manitous to reach the upper heights!  The mountainous pyre is lit on New Year’s Eve and burns for days; the street party begins  early evening December 31 2016 and ends sometime in the afternoon of January 1 2017.

Pagans consider fire to be a purging force; cleansing the air of evil spirits, cleansing the ground of disease and making way for fresh new growth.  The good folk of Biggar are purging for the world!

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Burning up 2016!

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While many tourists visit for the beauty of the local landscape, and especially the Pentland Hills, the mighty  bonfire is becoming an attraction of international renown. For those who can’t make it, there’s live  webcam coverage.

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