When: 31st December 2013, just before midnight (arrive earlier to get a good viewing spot)
Where: Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
£: Free but donations to keep the event going will be welcomed (there will be volunteers collecting on the night)
What is it?
The Fireball Ceremony is a popular annual festival in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. The Stonehaven Fireballs light up the street every New Year, attracting many spectators.
The event sees around 45 people parade along the High Street swinging fireballs around their heads as they go. The fireballs themselves are made from balls of chicken wire filled with materials such as wood, coal and fir cones. These are then doused in paraffin and a wire is attached ready for ‘swinging’.
This unusual event began in the early 1900s and the fireballs were originally swung by the men of the fishing community. There are several explanations to why people begun swinging fireballs. One theory is that they were Pagan sun charms to ensure plenty of sunshine for the year to come and another theory is that they were meant to destroy all harmful influences.
These days the event attracts thousands of visitors and the entertainment usually begins at around 11pm with pipe bands and drummers. The parade itself begins just after the Town House bell strikes midnight. The parade makes its way along the High Street and ends at the Harbour where the fireballs are thrown into the sea. The parade lasts about half an hour and the event ends with a firework display.
Spectators should make sure that they arrive by at least 10.30pm in order to find a good viewing spot. A map of the route is available from the website. Visitors should remember to wrap up warm for the event.
More info: www.stonehavenfireballs.co.uk