|Where:||Newburgh, Fife : High Street|
Before the midnight celebrations get going around the country for Hogmanay, a small town in Fife marks New Year’s Eve with a unique torchlit procession. The parade is headed by the Apprentice, riding backwards on horseback and wearing masks which face both ways, led by a Guard and followed by characters in often rather sinister fancy dress. The group is accompanied by a brass band, with a few stops along the route for a warming dram or two. It’s organised by the local Oddfellows group, who collect money on the night for local charities. The Oddfellows were founded as a society for working men with pensions, insurance and other benefits in return for a subscription; many of these groups disappeared with the foundation of the Welfare State and the Newburgh group is the only one in Scotland today. The event goes ahead whatever the weather and has been known to take place in snow and ice – the residents are a hardy bunch and not easily deterred! The tradition has been going for over a century and the parade takes around an hour and is a popular spectacle, though surprisingly little known outside of the town.
The High Street is closed to traffic for the duration of the parade, which lasts around an hour.
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