New Years Eve, 2016 into 2017. The Stonehaven Fireballs!
Saturday and Sunday, 31-Dec-2016 & 01-Jan-2017
New Years Eve! Ringing in 2017 with adventure and happiness. Or, in this case, fire.
Intentional fire, though! Don’t worry, we didn’t set the house alight, or anything crazy like that. Instead, we watched other people light everything on fire.
Every town in Scotland seems to have a story. Something that makes it special and unique; either an event, or some interesting tradition that’s unique to that town. In the case of the town of Stonehaven, it’s their New Years eve (Hogsmanay, in Scotland) event that sets them apart. It’s the Stonehaven Fireballs, and what they do is they take all the old fishing nets, covered in tar and pitch, and wrap them up in chicken wire. Then, light them on fire and spin them around their heads until their about to go out… at which point the fireballs are chucked into the ocean.
Yup. Medieval fire spinning, except with giant Poi that get chucked in the ocean.
It was exactly as ridiculous and amazing as one would expect, from that description. Bagpipe bands kept us occupied until midnight, and some Stovies (a Scottish dish made of beef and potatoes, of course) kept us warm. Cocoa, mead, and coffee definitely helped, too.
Once Midnight hit, and the fires were lit, we got to watch the spinners parade for nearly 20min, up and down the little 200 yard long corridor that was set up for them. It was amazing, seeing how many people did this year after year… Men and Women, young and old… everything, just tough Scots playing with fire.
The rest of New Years eve was our own tradition – popping champagne, and hanging out around the kitchen table. Bill and Greta went to bed earlier than the rest of us, but Sarah, Henry, Leah and myself all stayed up and chatted; talking about life in the States, life in Australia, and basically everything we could think of about the previous year, and what we’re up to in this coming year. We finally headed to bed around 3:00, well drank and excited for the year to come!