Scotland will play host to over 60 events to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme.
Scotland’s Winter Festivals begin with St Andrew’s Day (November 30), include Hogmanay celebrations (December 31) and culminate on Burns night (January 25).
They aim to bring together people from all over the world to celebrate Scotland’s modern culture and traditions through the best of Scottish music, arts, food and drink, innovation and entertainment.
Unveiling the programme, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said:
“Scotland’s Winter Festivals brings together three of our most important cultural celebrations. This year’s programme is jam-packed full of colourful, unusual and traditional events, celebrating our culture, heritage and creativity.
“In Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, this year there is a focus on promoting our authentic, top quality produce, treating locals and visitors alike to a real taste of Scotland.
“St Andrew’s Day is the ideal time to celebrate all that is great about Scotland. With such a variety of events on offer this festive season, there will be something for everyone to enjoy, no matter where they are in Scotland.
“Once again, many of our top visitor attractions will open to the public for free over the St Andrew’s Day weekend. Scotland’s friends across the world will also join the celebrations in true Scottish style from a St Andrew’s Day Ball in Doha to the Kirkin’ of the Tartans in Hawaii.
“The Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme shows that Scotland is a great visitor destination and the perfect stage for events all year round. With Edinburgh’s Hogmanay generating an estimated £29 million last year, we know that festive celebrations can make a significant contribution to Scottish tourism and our economy. That is why our Winter Festivals are so valuable – they will help entice people from home and abroad to explore all areas of Scotland.”
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Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, adds:
“Scotland has an unrivalled reputation in hosting major world class events and is internationally renowned for its Hogmanay celebrations. Scotland’s Winter Festivals is an exciting initiative. Linking three of our biggest celebrations offers a superb calendar of spectacular events over the festive season, with immense benefits for Scotland’s tourism and events industries.”
More than 60 events are planned round the country including Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Dumfries, Perth and Stirling. Some of Scotland’s visitor attractions are also supporting Scotland’s Winter Festivals, with over 65 venues participating in the celebrations.
Funded by the Scottish Government, Scotland’s Winter Festivals are delivered by the national events agency EventScotland, in partnership with the national tourism agency VisitScotland.
The Scottish Government is also sponsoring the Scottish Universities St Andrew’s Day Championship Debate, in conjunction with the Scottish Parliament and the English-Speaking Union Scotland.
Historic Scotland and the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions are running Visit for Free where visitor attractions will offer free access on November 27 and 28, 2010.