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Posted By: brumble49

Auld Year Goes Out Swinging In Stonehaven

Stonehaven Fireball swingers at midnight
The Ancient Fireballs Ceremony at this fishing village, 16 miles south of Aberdeen, is one of the most unique Hogmanay festivals in Scotland. At the strike of midnight the High street is lit up as sixty local fireball-swingers make their way, swinging their fireballs above their heads, through their town.
It looks dangerous. But, don't be alarmed. The fireballs are very safe - packed in wire cages and attached to strong, five-foot-long wire ropes.
What's a fireball made of?
The ingredients of a fireball comprise of combustible and oily waste matter (rags, twigs, cones, bits of coal) soaked in paraffin and held together in a case of wire mesh.
The 'balls are made as heavy as each 'swinger feels they can handle--5 to 15 pounds. Some balls can be 3feet in diameter and in the past they have been recorded to last for 2 hours!--now however they only last for 20 mins. max
The parade
Over 40 swingers, all of whom must reside in the Burgh, march down the High street to the accompaniment of pipes and drums from the Mercat Cross to the Police Station, swinging the flaming balls around their heads. After the fireballers have proceeded through the town they go down to the harbour where the balls are then thrown into the sea.
Eyewitness
As you would expect, fireball-swinging is an energetic activity. As one regular participant records: "I can personally attest to the effort needed to continue swinging for the 10-15 minutes the ball will burn.
There were 12000 people there in 2002. The most ever.
If the best estimate for the population of Stonehaven is 12000 in normal circumstances then at a doubling of the population to see the event puts it well up on the Edinburgh bash!
It has been reported that it took some folk 90 minutes to get out of the town afterwards!
Origins
The ceremony dates from a fishermen's festival in the 19th century but these torch processions can be dated back to before Christianity. There are other theories on the significance of the festival:
1. That it coincides with the winter solstice and the fireballs swinging relate to the sun.
2. A pre-Christian theory that the fireballs purify the world by consuming evil and warding off witches and evil spirits.
3. That some time in the Dark Ages a shooting star appeared above what is now Stonehaven. Thereafter, by coincidence, the living nearby may have had bumper crops. The seers of the tribe then attributed this prosperity to the coming of the shooting star. The Fireball is a mimic of the coming of the shooting star and prosperity.
Safety
These days the celebration has become such a popular event that, in the interests of safety, barriers are erected to separate the swingers and pipe bands, and control the thousands that come to spectate. But the spectacle and atmosphere are still second to none.
Watch the video HERE
And.............it's always very,very cold.



Posted By: Jan

Hi, How interesting Brumbles to read of that tradition in Scotland and I am sure that it is a wonderful sight to see. Thanks for that since my ancestors are from Edinburgh and anything Scottish interests me. Also my son in law is a fireman in Liverpool and so again an interest. HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone and may all your dreams come true for 2007. Well it is nearly a new year and time to think about getting back to Cyprus again. I can't wait. Jan

Posted By: salopman

Sue and I would like to wish you ALL a Happy New Year - and look forward to our times in Cyprus again in 2007! Cheers!!

Posted By: Buddy

Happy New Year to all members. Hope next year brings everyone their wishes. Have a great night wherever you are. Has everyone got their hangover cures ready. :wink: Buddy

Posted By: Road Warrior

Happy Hogmanay Brumble and a happy and healthy New Year to all our readers.

Posted By: swallowtail

Happy New Year everyone, thanks Brumbles for interesting post. My daughter and a few friends do a bit of a display with Firechains - alot smaller but same principal - goes back to her hippy days but always makes a good spot of entertainment on bonfire night when the fireworks are over and the bonfire dies down. Looking forward to being in Kapparis on 9th Jan - for 3 whole months! So excited I packed my case today - not sure what to wear for the rest of this week but hey!!! Jo

Posted By: brumble49

live link to Stonehaven fireball ceremony.
click HERE
then click webcam
and
ENJOY THE RAIN.

Posted By: Steve - SJD

Hi, Hope you all have a good night tonight! I'd also like to wish all members a happy, healthy & prosperous 2007! Best Wishes Steve P.S. Proper blowing a gale here :?






Posted By: swallowtail

Is that someone practicing in their Front Room on the right? Fire Brigade needed I think!

Posted By: beersmaggie

I dont know about fieballs but hee in Cypus its noise thats the thing. It is now 12-013am 01/01/2007 and the whole village eupted at midnight, the chuch bells ang, the village boys ae out on thei vey noisey bikes, and guess what a lette on my keyboad is not woking :( No pizes fo getting it ight :!: Anyway, people have been out in thei cas sounding thei hons now Ive got the boys outside evving up the bikes. In the habou in Lanaca thee is beautiful fiewoks going off and at Dekalia. Fom my position in Tesefanou I can see out ove the habou etc. Thee has even been some gunshots fom an exubeant esident of the village. Well Chees eveyone and a Happy New Yea :!: ...... Maggie Lanaca P.S I'm not mucking about the lette is eally not woking, so dont ty and ead this tonight leave it until you ae sobe.....lol :D

Posted By: JimPernera

Who's kidding who Maggie? Try again later in the morning!! Happy New Year. lol.

Posted By: Steve - SJD

Well thought i'd post my first message of 2007 :lol: er... Happy New Year \:D/ Cheers Steve

Posted By: Balconia

Maggie I had to wipe tears from my eyes when reading your post - Whether the Key is working on your keyboard or not your message really tickled me. I had a lousy New years Eve as my youngest child has a very bad case of chicken pox - but you managed to make me smile and i thank you for that. Wishing you and all members a very happy 2007. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Posted By: dawnnett

Happy New Year ...to everyone Carol hope your Child gets better soon ...it happened to us one year with Amie Maggies post made me laugh too ....i thought it was a Brandy to much :wink: Dawn

Posted By: beersmaggie

No it was definately not bandy Dawn, in fact not a dop past my lips and as you can see the bloody lette on my keyboad is still not woking, ahhhhh :!: Balconia, I have to call you that as Caol doesnt look the same as when its got that you know what lette in it, I'm sad, I'm even changing my wods so I dont have to used that lette, to hea that one of the kids has not been so good. Chicken Pox is nasty, I do hope that they get bette soon, give him/she a hug fom me........Maggie Lanaca



Posted By: Balconia

Thanks Dawn - Olivia is very poorly again this evening - She is 10 and i think children must get it worse the older they are. I don't recall my other two children being as ill as this with chicken pox but they were much younger. Maggie You have made me laugh again - Please don't get the "R" key mended soon :lol: :lol: Thanks too for your concern - i have just finished liberally applying the calomine lotion - Just hope Olivia sleeps tonight as she hasn't done for the past two nights and we are both exhausted. :cry:

Posted By: beersmaggie

Hi CaRol, soRRy but I had to get the 'R' fixed as it was dRiving me mad :!: Its veRy diificuly tRying to explain to people via the net oR on MessengeR what the pwoblem, oooops sowwy, pRoblem was, lol How is Olivia today? Did she get some sleep last night? I think you are right, when they are older they dont seem to suffer so much as the wee ones do. When my two had it the eldest had about three dozen spots but my little one, poor thing, had them everywhere. It was like you couldnt put a pin between them. Hope she gets better soon.......Maggie Larnaca

Posted By: dawnnett

Maggie still gave me a giggle too ...so it wasnt the bandy then :D Carol, hope Olivia is feeling better tonight , our Amie was around the same age ....you wish you could have it for them dont you the first few days are the worst so hopefully she will be on the mend soon Dawn

Posted By: Balconia

Ohhhhhh Maggie you spoilsport you went and got the R Fixed :cry: :cry: I was soooo looking forward to your post this evening !! Olivia is much better this evening and had a very good night sleep last night and so did i !!! Thanks Maggie and Dawn for your concerns - It's funny as soon as i told Olivia that she wouldn't be returning to school on Thursday she seemed to perk up a bit :wink: Well time to liberally apply the calomine lotion again ------- back soon!!

Posted By: Ticketty Boo

Happy (or should that be merry !!! ) new year to you all.
Wish I was there to celebrate it with you all, but I had to come back and go to work, huh :(
But we did celebrate the new year two hours early, cypriot time !! Just as well really, I'm not a night owl !!! :sleep:
Hopefully I'll be back very soon
Tracey


Posted By: greeny

I know its late but happy 2007 to you all hope you all have a good year.And sorry to hear my little Olivia had chicken pox tell her that i looked funny when i was 27 and got them and yes makes you feel so ill bless :D Jane

Posted By: Balconia

Oh Thanks Jane, i will tell Olivia. :lol: Thankfully she is on the mend now - but still not her normal exuberant self !!!!



Posted By: Hogarth55

Happy New year Everyone, Hope 07 brings all your dreams to life. I have missed you all, I haven't been on-line, as my Dad has been very ill, so just popped in to see how you all are. All the Best.


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