Festival, Tattoo, Hogmanay, Etc., Edinburgh
Each year on January 25, the great man's presumed birthday, Scots everywhere take time out to honour a national icon. Whether it's a full-blown Burns Supper or a quiet night of reading poetry, Burns Night is a night for all Scots.
Burns Night Supper
The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life, a night to celebrate the life and genius of the national Bard. Suppers can be everything from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance. This running order covers all the key elements you need to plan and structure a Burns Supper that suits your intentions. For more info:
Who was Robert Burns then?
Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in the village of Alloway near Ayr. He came from a relatively poor, tenant-farmer background, although he received a good education and read avidly as a youngster. It is during his years as a teenager and young man working on farms that he developed some of the passions that would colour the rest of his life - poetry, nature, women and drink.
Fame, but not necessarily fortune, followed in the wake of Burns’s first publication: "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" (Kilmarnock Edition). The collection contains many of his best loved poems, including "The Cotter’s Saturday Night", "To a Mouse" and "To a Louse".
Burns’s poetry at this time chopped and changed between English and Scots and this perhaps reflected his own ambivalent feelings towards the Edinburgh bourgeoisie. It was on his return to farming near Dumfries in 1788 that he penned his masterpiece in the Scots vernacular, "Tam O’Shanter" (1790).
In 1795 he sent his publisher "For a’ that and a’ that", a song which vocalised his support for the political radicalism which was beginning to infiltrate British society, especially through Thomas Paine’s controversial work, "The Rights of Man".
The Bard should always be seen in his national context: as the champion of the underdog in an underdog country.
There is a cavalcade before the Festival opens [see tip] and in the days that followed flyers were continually being thrust into your hands; rehearsals for some of the shows took place in the open, individuals played musical instruments [pan pipes from S America, Japanese stringed instruments, Norwegian band] , juggled with balls and did somersaults, danced and all for free. In the Botanical Gardens we came across a performance of a Shakespeare play. In addition there are stalls selling all kinds of things, ethnic jewellery, doing henna tattoos or drawing portraits. There is enough to keep anyone busy.
Before the festival begins, there is a Cavalcade of floats advertising the participants. It was not advertised because of security,but we heard from a friend and made our way to Prince's Street down which the parade would drive. There were already people waiting at noon, though the parade was due to start at 2.30pm. We grabbed good positions near the art gallery and waited, and waited. Eventually a dignatory appeared, and later the Lady Provost. Then the parade proper- floats , marching bands, acrobats etc. Cheap sparkly necklaces were thrown into the crowd or handed out to those who caught the performers' eyes.
It was all very cheerful and colourful and enabled one to get flyers, and see what events might be worth seeing.
Every year in Prince's Street Gardens there is a flower clock. This is a flower bed planted with summer flowers representing a clock. It is colourful and a tradition so that it is in bloom at the time of the Edinburgh Festival in August.
This isn't just one festival but a huge spread of diverse productions with 11 different festivals planned for 2006. These are all brought together on the link below where there is also a simple and easy to use online booking service.
Note however if you do not have PC access in August, you can use the ones in the temporary booking office located on top of the Princes Shopping Centre.
Hogmanay is New Year's Eve. Until a few decades ago Christmas was a low key festival , if kept at all. The main festival was Hogmanay, which lasted several days in areas where drink was accepted.
First footing was done as soon as the New Year was rung in, A dark haired person with coal, bread and salt was welcome as the bearer of good luck. After the first foot entered the house anyone was welcome and given a dram [of whisky] and a piece of black bun.
In Edinburgh a street party takes place to welcome in the New Year. People hug and kiss each other and join arms to sing Auld Lang Syne.
Fun Fair Big Wheel Open Air Ice Skating German Christmas Market Wine Hot Chestnuts Food Christmas Gift ideas.
Stand in Princes Street at Midnight for the fireworks.
Stages are set up with bands playing live music.
The Edinburgh Festival is the big cultural event of the year in Scotland.
The Fringe attracts many people because the variety of entertainment on offer.
The closing of the Festival ends with the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh Castle.
new year is a big thing in scotland, and in edinburgh we celebrate it with a big street party in the city centre. when the bells chime at midnight , you will have your hand shook and kissed, even by harmless drunks. it is traditional to first foot someone, you go to a friends house and be the first person to enter their house in the new year, usually bringing a gift, a long time ago this used to be a piece of coal, but now usually some shortbread, which is a rich buttery biscuit, or some blackbun, a moist rich fruitcake or some whiskey.
In the last two weeks of August and the beginning of September, the Edinburgh Festival takes place in a large variety of city venues catering for all interests from comedy to serious theatre, street entertainers to full orchestras.
This is the busiest time of year attracting thousands of international visitors.
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
Excerpt from www.eif.co.uk:
Each year during the summer months Edinburgh becomes the world's Festival City. It is the huge range and number of artistic events, performances and exhibitions happening throughout the city which makes Edinburgh unforgettable. It makes you feel that there is always something else happening around the corner which you are missing. There is; and you are. This is inevitable, part of the joy of the Festival.
The Edinburgh International Festival was founded in 1947. It is now recognised as one of the most important celebrations of the arts in the world.
The founders of the Festival believed that the Festival programmes should be of the highest possible artistic standard presented by the best artists in the world, that the Festival should enliven and enrich the cultural life of Europe, Britain and Scotland and that it should provide a period of flowering of the human spirit.
If you can go in august, do it. It's the time when, inside the castle, you can attend the famous military tattoo. And it's not only a show of military bands... it's a lot more. Just go and seeit for yourself. You will not regret it.
Culture vultures should visit during the Festival (August) - lots of mediocre stuff but some great entertainment on offer too. Usually excellent stand up comedy!
If the cold, wet and windy weather is bringing you down, experience the warm heartbeat of Southern Africa in the friendly Ndebele cafe on Home Street, just south of the city centre.
Every August, there is an arts and entertainment festival called the Fringe Festival. There is also a Military Tattoo in front of the castle. This means that you should book lodgings well in advance. More importantly, it means beware of clown street-performers!! They are very scary. If you turn into a dark alleyway and you hear the squeaky sound of big shoes following you, RUN! It's probably an evil clown coming to get you!!!