Hogmanay turns into a world party

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Tens of thousands of revellers have welcomed in 2014 at one of the world's best-known street parties.

An estimated 80,000 people from across the globe descended on the centre of Edinburgh to take part in the huge outdoor celebrations in the city known as the home of Hogmanay.

They counted down the last moments of 2013 before a spectacular fireworks display filled the skies above Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill when the clock struck midnight.

Pet Shop Boys were the headline draw at a concert in Princes Street Gardens, with the synthpop duo having chosen the Scottish capital as the final location for their world tour. They were joined by guests The 1975 and Edinburgh's own Nina Nesbitt.

Party-goers at the 21st annual street party were entertained by music on three stages, with Mercury Prize nominees Django Django and Chvrches and The Rezillos taking to the Waverley stage.

The Scottish stage welcomed King Creosote and Fiddlers' Bid, while the Rewinder, a live DJ and VJ (video jockey) show from the top of The Mound, was shown on eight screens throughout the street party.

Other music tastes were catered for, with outdoor dance event The Keilidh playing the best in traditional Scottish music.

Build-up to the big fireworks display to welcome in the new year came in the shape of countdown fireworks at 8.14pm, or 20.14 on the 24 hour clock, and 9pm and 10pm.

A full "Homecoming Hogmanay" fireworks display at 11pm signalled one hour to go until the climax of the evening.

The midnight display, choreographed to music from Scottish acts who have taken part in Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations over the last 21 years, involved over 2,300 cues and 16,000 shots.

After watching the fireworks, revellers joined in a traditional rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

Pete Irvine, director of Edinburgh Hogmanay organiser Unique Events, said: "It's just got bigger and bigger every year. There are people from more than 65 countries here tonight. Huge numbers of people from Japan, Korea and China are here and they're totally welcome.

"This party is euphoric, friendly and it's Scots at their best.

"Edinburgh's appeal is that it's authentic. It's the Home of Hogmanay, we wrote the tune.

"People come from not just round the corner but from across the world to this party. It's a mix of nationalities, all united in one thing, which is to have a good time in this city and it's a beautiful city to do it in."

Watching the Concert in the Gardens was Margaret McGuiness, from Dublin, who was enjoying her first time in Edinburgh.

She said: "I've come here because I've heard so much about it. I've come to see the Pet Shop Boys and the fireworks. Everybody's so kind and we're having a fantastic time. The atmosphere's brilliant."

Education worker Karen O'Loughlin, 51, from Manchester, said the city lived up to its reputation as the Home of Hogmanay.

"It's fantastic, it's a beautiful city, Edinburgh, absolutely beautiful," she said.

"This city is amazing, I'd definitely come back again.

"The people are extremely friendly. I don't mind what bands I listen to. It's the people around (that make it) and the fireworks are incredible."

Teacher Deb Fawcett, who now works in the Netherlands, was watching the concert with her two children.

She said: "I'm returning here after 10 years of being away, so it's coming home. I've been really impressed with the fact it's been so controlled. It's really child-friendly."

At the street party, charity worker Alison Rothwell, 42, from Wigan, said: "We're having a fantastic night. It's just brilliant to be here and feel the love for New Year in Edinburgh. Happy Hogmanay everybody!

"We've been so excited all day."

Her friend, building worker David Horrocks, 40, from near Wigan, added: "It's the first time I've been here and I'll be coming back, definitely."

Businessman Andrew Murray, of Barrhead, near Glasgow, said: "The atmosphere tonight's fantastic. Scotland can be very proud of this because it's the people that make it. I've never seen so many people smiling. There's a real feel-good factor going into 2014, when there's so much happening for the country."

Edinburgh's events are part of a three-day-long celebration which began with a torchlight procession through the city centre on Monday and includes the "loony dook" in the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry today.

In the city centre later, visitors can explore Scot:Lands, a journey around nine well-known and less discovered venues in Edinburgh's Old Town, each curated by artists and arts organisations from around Scotland.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the biggest television event in Scotland, going out to around a billion televisions around the world.

Tickets for the celebrations were bought by people from around 65 countries, including Australia, Brazil and Hungary.

Earlier, fireworks lit up the skies of Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling at 20.14 to herald the new year.

The simultaneous displays were choreographed to mark the start of Homecoming Scotland 2014, a year-long programme of events and festivals to celebrates the best of the country in the year when it will host the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the Mountain Biking World Cup, MTV Awards and anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Glasgow held a "Hogmanayday" between midday and 10pm featuring bagpipers, drummers and dancers.

The free event in George Square included a giant ceilidh and stalls selling Scottish produce.

In Inverness after the fireworks display above the castle at 20.14 revellers headed to the Northern Meeting Park Arena for The Red Hot Highland Fling.

Meanwhile in Aberdeenshire Simple Minds were headlining the Open Air in the Square event in Stonehaven.

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