A MESSAGE of welcome and friendship will be shared with the world from Scotland’s capital city this New Year.

In complete contrast to the image of a hostile Brexit Britain created by the election results south of the Border, the theme of this year’s Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh is Be Together.

It will be dramatically portrayed at the culmination of the torchlight procession on December 30, when torchbearers gathering in Holyrood Park will make the shape of two people reaching out a hand in friendship. The image will be captured form the air to be shared with the rest of the world.

The torchlight procession kicks off three days of celebrations in Edinburgh and is followed by Symphonic Ibiza at the McEwan Hall, which will feature some of the most famous Ibiza anthems from the last 30 years.

Afterwards at the same venue, and timed to coincide with the bells in Sydney, it will be the new Australian New Year party with Kylie Auldist, “the high priestess of Melbourne soul”.

On Hogmanay itself, Bairns Afore is an early firework display for families and this year is hosted by children’s TV favourites Dick and Dom. It will be followed by the Street Party in Princes Street with music from Marc Almond, Idlewild, VanIves, The Ninth Wave, The Snuts and Shooglenifty, and theatre artists such as Scotland’s Circus Alba and PyroCeltica, France’s Compagnie Remue Menage, Germany’s Picto Facto and Dundu from the Netherlands.

There is also a Ceilidh under the Castle in West Princes Street Gardens, featuring Sleekit Beasties, Skyte! and the Cool Ceol Ceilidh Band.

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At midnight, DJ Mark Ronson will deliver the soundtrack for the midnight fireworks.

Message from the Skies returns to the capital on New Year’s Day with Shorelines, a collection of letters to Scotland reflecting the country’s relationship to its seas, waters and coasts. The words of celebrated writers Charlotte Runcie, Irvine Welsh, Kathleen Jamie, Kayus Bankole and Robin Robertson will illuminate and animate landmarks around the city with a maritime theme during the month of January.

Another free event is the First Footers’ Family Ceilidh at the McEwan Hall from 12.30 until 2pm.

Meanwhile the Loony Dook will take place at South Queensferry, with dookers marching the length of the town’s high street before launching themselves into the freezing Firth of Forth. In the evening Scots singer Eddi Reader will perform at the McEwan Hall.

While the celebrations are extensive in Edinburgh other towns and cities around Scotland will be staging events to welcome 2020.

The country’s biggest free Hogmanay hootenanny can be found in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. The family-friendly Red Hot Highland Fling will take place on the banks of the River Ness in Northern Meeting Park, with music and fireworks entertaining the crowds. The top billing is always on stage before 10pm so that families can get home to see in the bells. This year’s show will be hosted by comedian Craig Hill and feature The Trad Project, Blazin’ Fiddles and Tidelines. No tickets are required.

On the east coast, Stonehaven is the setting for one of the many fire festivals unique to Scotland. The fireballs parade is a free Hogmanay event which has been celebrated for over 100 years and always attracts a large crowd. Traditionally, it was a cleansing ritual to burn off any bad spirits left from the old year so that the New Year can begin clean and purified. It will continue this year with a piper leading a procession of people swinging balls of fire through the town just before midnight.

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FURTHER south, the Biggar Bonfire is lit at 9.30pm while in Comrie, tall torches reaching nearly 10ft in height will be paraded around the small village at midnight. The procession is accompanied by music, people in fancy dress and general merriment and celebration before the torches are thrown into the River Earn. In Peebles there will be a special torchlight parade to celebrate Hogmanay with the fun beginning at 6pm.

A street party will again be held at Schoolhill in Aberdeen with a fireworks display at midnight following local musicians live on stage.

There may not be fire but there is warming whisky in Dufftown, where the community gathers in the square at midnight after the annual Hogmanay ceilidh to share drams of whisky and shortbread, courtesy of the local Glenfiddich distillery and Walkers biscuit factory.

In Shetland, all female Scots trad group the Kinnaris Quintet are to perform at Lerwick Mareel following their triumph at the Scots Trad Awards when they won the innovation prize.

Stirling’s midnight event will be headlined by Treacherous Orchestra with Stephanie Cheape taking to the stage to entertain revellers ahead of the bells. Music and entertainment will also be on offer at the family-friendly concert earlier in the evening and both events will culminate with fireworks displays, set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle.

At nearby Grangemouth, there is an illuminated walk around the Helix Park and Kelpies with interactive characters and performances to welcome in the Year of Coasts and Waters.

There is no official Hogmanay celebration in Glasgow but plenty of ceildihs, parties and other events all over the city. Those that don’t want the wee ones to miss out on the New Year celebrations can head to the Wee Hogmanay Party at The National Piping Centre in Glasgow. Suitable for ages two to 10, there is a party food buffet and a special bells celebration with Auld Lang Syne to finish off the evening.

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Plans to host Dundee’s first outdoor Hogmanay party in decades were scrapped after spiralling costs and planning issues, but a scaled down version will take place indoors at a city nightclub. The party will be held at Fat Sams with The View frontman Kyle Falconer set to headline following live music from Eddi Reader, rock pipe band Gleadhraich and Sinderins.

While the rest of the country will be celebrating New Year on January 1, the residents of Burghead in Moray will wait as usual until January 11. Then they parade the clavie – a wooden barrel filled with wooden staves – through the town before setting it alight on a nearby hill where it smoulders well into the next day.