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December 29, 2009

Scots to celebrate New Year with an icy plunge

One night of black-tie galas and champagne toasts sounds so humdrum compared to Edinburgh’s New Year celebration. The annual five-day street festival, Hogmanay, begins tonight with a torch-lit procession through the Scottish capital. Over 20 more events will follow, including tomorrow’s “Winter Light” performance by electronic avant-garde artists in St. Giles’ Cathedral, and “Dark Night,” a subterranean tour of the Royal Mile.

Midnight fireworks and Auld Lang Syne will herald the New Year, but the Scots aren’t done yet. On January 1 it’s time for “The Loony Dook” — an icy communal plunge into the River Forth (which, let’s face it, is only a good idea after a long night of libations). Thawing proceeds at the Mooring’s Pub in South Queensferry with a hot toddy and soup. You’ll want to solidify your New Year’s resolutions, too — because later that day you can post them on the Re:solution Wall between Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

— Kate Goodin

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