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The Fireballs of Stonehaven

As part of his research for the forthcoming book, The Wheel of the Year; Some British Seasonal Customs, the museum's director spent New Year in the historic town of Stonehaven in the county of Kincardineshire and the Mearns, now known as Aberdeenshire. Apart from being a special place to visit at any time of the year, Stonehaven has its own unique way of welcoming in the New Year.

At the first stroke of midnight on the 31st, dozens of people set light to specially made cages which are then swung around the participants heads as they walk in procession along the High Street from the harbour. The museum was able to secure a meeting with Martin Sim, chairman of the Fireballs Association, who has been actively involved with the event for the past 35 years and was a mine of information. The origins of the festival are unknown and although fire plays a mayor part in many other Scottish mid-Winter customs, the fireballs are unique to Stonehaven.

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It is thought to have started around the mid 1800's and whilst the first mention in print is from 1908, it could well be older. The main thing is that it is now a well attended and popular spectacle attracting visitors from many other countries as well as from the UK. For more information click HERE

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