Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hogmanay at Brearley House

Update, 1/1/13: Though the annual Hogmany event is said to run from 6 to 9, the bonfire portion happens in the first hour. When we arrived at 7pm, the bonfire had settled down to a large molten mass of coals surrounded by people. Some were still tossing wads of paper with bad memories from 2012 into the fire. This tradition should last far into the digital age. Sending an email with one's bad memories to just isn't the same, and it's not practical to key bad memories into a Word file and then toss the whole computer into the flames.

The bed of coals was a feast for the eyes, so hot and pure that some of the flames were blue, as if the fuel was natural gas rather than wood.

Wikipedia describes many Scottish traditions associated with Hogmanay, all of which sound more appealing than watching the shallow glitz in broadcasts from Times Square. Didn't see any mention of bad memories being tossed into the fire.

A post at had more photos and details about the annual event.

Original post: Each year, Brearley House hosts a bonfire on New Year's Eve, a couple miles out of town. People encircle the giant fire, keeping their distance in the face of all that heat. From 6-9pm, the fire goes from all flames down to a complex glow of coals. A treat for the eye and the soul, and refreshments are free. The scottish tradition is to write down all your bad memories from the year and throw them into the fire. It's also a chance to check out the 1761 house.

Parking is in an open field next to the house. Take Princeton Pike out of town, then turn left onto Meadow Road. If you reach I-95, you've gone too far.

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