Like many of Scotland's famous fire festivals, the Comrie Flambeaux is likely to be pagan in origin - when fire was used to warn away evil spirits of the old year - but no one in this Perthshire village is certain of when it first began. On New Year's Eve, eight or so lit torches, some nearly 10 ft in height, parades 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.
Whilst the origins of this ancient custom are lost in the mists of time, the tradition is maintained by local voluntary effort. Each Hogmanay as midnight is announced by the bells of Big Ben the flambeaux are lit. The torches, consisting of long thick birch poles with tarred rags tightly bound to the tops, are paraded around the village preceded by the pipe band and followed by a fancy dress parade.
Once the procession returns to Melville Square prizes are presented and the torches are cast over the Dalginross Bridge into the waters of the River Earn. This is supposed to signify the casting out of evil spirits.
Many of the villagers follow this on with the custom of ‘First Footing’ which usually involves a different type of spirit entirely!
6.30 Children’s Fancy Dress Parade
7.30 Fireworks at the Boulevard
12.00 Flambeaux Parade
If you are staying here in one of our self-catering holiday cottages over the Hogmanay period why not go along to Comrie to experience first hand the New Year celebrations.