Festivals and Celebrations in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is home to some fantastic festivals and celebrations throughout the year, and below is our guide to some of the best events in Edinburgh coming up in 2012

Hogmanay
It’s only right to start with the first festival of the year and that’s Hogmanay! No one does new year like the Scots where celebrations can stretch form 30th December to the 2nd January. Hogmanay is rich with rites and superstition that date back to Norse times. Perhaps the best well known is the crossing of arms and holding of hands to belt out Auld Langs Syne a reworking of a Robert Burns poem.
Edinburgh puts on fine Hogmanay festivities including the obligatory fireworks, concerts by world  famous musicians (the 2011/12 line up includes Mark Ronson) as well as a stunning torch light procession to open events on 30th December and the New Year Games on 1st January.
For more information on this, one of Europe’s largest street parties visit: http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Tattoo is a celebration of world militaria and is held at Edinburgh Castle, right in the centre of the city, each August and has been so since 1950.  These days, the festival lasts for three weeks. It is truly an international spectacle. More than 70% of the 210,00 plus annual audience come from beyond Scotland’s borders and the military skills of more than forty countries have been represented since its inception.
This is a festival of music, light and sound. From triumphal marches to the tragic ‘The Garb of Old Gaul’ and the haunting last post. Strength and skill are demostratesd in awe inspiring display after display. To be there to see this extraordinary festival in person, visit: http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/

Edinburgh Royal Highland Show
The celebration of all things agricultural, the Edinburgh Royal Highland Show is held each June and although it runs for only four days attracts over 180,000 visitors. With an emphasis on farming and some wonderfully entertaining exhibitions of farm animals, demonstrations and competitions of farming skills such as sheep shearing but there are numerous more interactive attractions. These include tractor rides, animal handling and grooming and sporting events.
If all of that sounds a bit too exciting you could always indulge in a spot of retail therapy. There are numerous stalls selling local and artisan food and drink produce as well as those specialising in knitwear, textiles and jewellery. You can even buy some wellies if you didn’t bring your own.
For full details of what’s coming up in the 2012 show visit: http://www.royalhighlandshow.org

Edinburgh International Festival
The International Festival, held every August has been going since 1947. It is a platform for performing arts with a special emphasis on classical music. Alongside it has grown up a tradition of touring and specially commissioned/inspired visual arts exhibitions taking up residence in the city during the three week long festival. “The Hub” is the official home of the festival and even if you can’t visit while the festivities are in full swing this architecturally stunning building, a gothic style collaboration by architects J Gillespie Graham and Augustus Pugin is undoubtedly worth a visit.
For more information about performers and performances at the next International Festival visit:
http://www.eif.co.uk/

Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Fringe – the sister celebration of the International Festival – also began in 1947 as a showcase for performance artists from all over the globe. This the world’s largest arts festival, attracting over one million visitors and staging more than 2,500 different shows (more than 40,000 performances in total) is the place to see world premier performances and the stars of tomorrow. Though, perhaps, most noted as a breeding ground for comedy talent and the place where comedians go to cut their teeth or trial new material there is no end to the variety of talent and art at the Fringe which has long over taken the International Festival in scale.
For what’s on see: http://www.edfringe.com/