The Hogmanay Bonfire has been a tradition for the Lawrence Historical Society 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 has become an annual event.
The first bonfire was suggested by Joe Logan, who recalled similar fires that took place in his childhood home of Savannah, Georgia. The bonfires of his boyhood were a New Year's Eve community celebration to mark the end of the holiday season with the burning of the year's Christmas trees.
LHS took Logan's suggestion and combined it with Hogmanay, another festival that often includes bonfires and a large community gathering. It is our hope that you will enjoy our gift to the community by bringing along your family and friends to celebrate a new year and have a good time.
Hogmanay is a Scottish New Year's celebration that has it roots in Pagan tradition. To this day, Hogmanay is the main winter holiday and includes many Christmas-like features, such as gift giving.
The most important aspect of any Hogmanay celebration is cleansing for the new year. Cleansing includes paying off old debts, washing 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.