Hogman-eh! Ottawa celebrates New Year's Scottish-style

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?  Not when Ottawa gets together for another great New Year’s Eve celebration at the Aberdeen Pavilion.

 For the third straight year, the Scottish Society of Ottawa will host its “Hogman-eh!” celebration at Lansdowne Park.  As in past years, thousands of people are expected to gather in the old “Cattle Castle” to bring in the new year with live music, dancing, fireworks, and special entertainment for the kids.

 It’s free. (Now there’s a deal to warm the inner Scot that resides in all of us!)

And it’s warm. While others might brave the weather to ring in Canada’s 150th birthday up on Parliament Hill, Hogman-eh! offers the option of enjoying the celebration indoors at Aberdeen Pavilion – with perhaps a visit to the Lansdowne Park Skating Rink.

 Food and alcoholic beverages will be available for sale, and once again Milestones Restaurant will offer whisky tasting.

 The musical lineup has always been a big draw for Hogman-eh!.  Bobby Watt, whose band Ecosse is a perennial favourite at the celebration, is also responsible for lining up the entertainment. 

 This year’s headliner band will be the popular Cape-Breton Celtic band, The Barra MacNeils. They will have wound up their 2016 Christmas Tour and will return to Ottawa for Hogman-eh! “Lovers of Scottish music won’t want to miss this!” says Bobby Watt.

 Across from the Aberdeen Pavilion, at the Horticulture Building, New Year’s revelers can get a preview of portions of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry that has been touring the world and will be exhibited through the month of January at the Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library.

For many families, one of the best features of the annual Hogman-eh! party is the tradition of ringing in the new year twice. The first time is midnight in Scotland, or 7 p.m. here in Ottawa. 

That means that families can bring their children to a full-fledged New Year’s Eve party, complete with music, dancing, face-painting, LED light performers, jugglers and magicians, plus a New Year’s Eve countdown. Then they can go back home early enough to get the kids back to the babysitter and bed.

 The second count-down to midnight goes by Ottawa time, and will include the traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne followed by fireworks in Lansdowne Park.

 Mayor Jim Watson will use Hogman-eh! to proclaim January 2017 as “Scottish Month” in Ottawa.  Over the following weeks, events will include the annual Robbie Burns Supper, the Third Annual Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate, and the display of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.

 While entrance to the Horticulture Building and Aberdeen Pavilion is free to everyone, anyone 19-years of age or older who wants to upgrade the New Year’s Eve experience can purchase a VIP package for $70. They will enjoy select seating, entrance to a special area where they can meet the musical performers, complimentary coat check, cocktails and appetizers in the Milestones VIP Lounge, and various other items of swag that will make this a memorable night.  More information can be obtained at www.ottscot.ca.

 In Scotland, New Year’s is a big deal. In 1996, over 300,000 people gathered in Edinburgh and set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest New Year’s party. Year by year, Ottawa’s Hogman-eh! draws more people.  They come from across the city, but the event still feels very much rooted in the communities where we live.