Special Events in Edinburgh

The city's Hogmanay celebrations are known throughout the world for being filled with revelry, joy and positive energy. The kick-off to the New Year is a three-day party attended by nearly 100,000 participants ready to enjoy live music, DJs and dancing that lasts until morning. The Concert in the Gardens is a festival highlight, and past performers have included Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, Groove Armada and Madness. The New Year is signaled by an extravagant fireworks show that explodes across the sky of Edinburgh.

Each year on January 25th, the people of Edinburgh celebrate the lief of Scotland's National bard, Robert Burns. Burns Night festivities are marked by traditional feats, rousing verse and festive entertainment, including concerts and dramatic performances. The day also marks the end of the city's Winter Festival, an annual event that includes parades, free museum tours, dances and celebrations of Scottish heritage.

On the last day of April each year, the Beltane Fire Festival kicks off the summer season with a spectacular procession of musicians, artists and dancers. The festival pays homage to an ancient fertility festival celebrated by the Celts through performances by the May Queen, the embodiment of strength, purity and the potential for growth. All the elements of nature, including fire, earth, water and air, come together through interactive exhibits in this unique celebration.

Each August, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo shows off Scotland's best military drummers, pipers, bands and dancers in one of the country's most iconic events. Over 200,000 spectators come to see the show, which also features military performers from around the world. Humorous routines, impressive lighting, lively dancing and fabulous fireworks accompany the magnificent performances.

At the close of summer each year, the city sponsors the Mela Festival, one of Europe's most important and largest multicultural events. The truly unforgettable experience is made through visual exhibitions, theatre and dance performances, film showings and live concerts. Visitors can sample cultures from around the world without ever leaving the city during this truly diverse gathering.

In November, locals celebrate the feast of Scotland's patron saint, St. Andrew. The fantastic range of events includes parades, free entrance to Edinburgh Castle, tours of the crown jewels and National War Memorial and traditional Scottish country dancing. Local bands play beloved tunes until the early morning and residents are always willing to teach tourists a few steps.