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Wacky welcome to new year

MORE than 8000 people will tonight gather to watch their traditional Hogmanay parade of revellers swinging blazing balls of fire above their heads through a Scots town's streets.

Now the ceremony through Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, which can be traced back to the Vikings, has been voted one of the world's strangest New Year customs.

As the clock nears midnight, 8500 people are expected to watch more than 40 people take part in the festivities. It has been named the eighth most wacky custom at New Year by social network site Badoo.com, which polled 7200 users globally.

Scotland's Loony Dook, which involves stripping down to a swimsuit and plunging into a freezing river on New Year's Day, was voted the ninth "most fun" custom. Top of the list for the strangest goes to central Chile, where locals gather in the cemetery to welcome the coming year in the company of dead relatives. Other favourites include the banging of bread on the walls to scare away bad spirits in Ireland and a Romanian tradition of attempting to hear animals talking.

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Hobbies and general interest

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