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Brearley House to Mark New Year with Free Hogmanay Celebration

bonfireCreate a list of all the bad things you want to forget about 2015 and bring it to the traditional Hogmanay bonfire on New Year’s Eve. Toss the list in the giant flames and watch it burn as you say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016.

The Hogmanay Bonfire, a popular family-friendly event hosted by the Lawrence Historical Society, has been a favorite tradition for area residents since 1997. The bonfire began as a way to showcase the Brearley House while it was being renovated and proved to be so popular, it became an annual event.

Hogmanay is a Scottish New Year’s celebration that includes many Christmas features like gift giving. The most important aspect of any Hogmanay celebration is cleansing for the new year. Cleansing includes paying off old debts, cleaning the home, and banishing thoughts of bad happenings from the previous year. Other traditions include the banging of pots at midnight to ward off dark spirits, banishing stray dogs to keep evil at bay, and firstfooting – a tradition of visiting friends and relatives at midnight to bring them good cheer to start off the new year.

The Lawrenceville celebration will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Hogmanay Bonfire will take place in the Great Meadow behind the Brearley House and will be lit promptly at 6 p.m. by fire master Tom Ledwidth.

A bagpiper will be onsite to entertain the crowd and the house will be open. Paper and pencils will also be available for you to write down all the bad things from the previous year that you wish to toss into the fire. You are also invited to prepare a list in advance and bring it to the fire.

Park offsite at 200 Lenox Drive. Enter the lot at the light on Princeton Pike and Lenox Drive.  Follow the road to one of the rear lots, where you can either walk a lighted trail to the Brearley House or board a shuttle bus.

Food will be available for sale onsite by Captain Paul’s Firehouse Dogs.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Butch

    Huge crowd! Fire eventually roared like a dragon. Piper Graham Kronk terrific as usual

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