Scotland has ushered in 2023 with revellers across the country celebrating Hogmanay.

Partygoers defied wet weather to welcome in 2023 with occasional downpours failing to dampen spirits in the capital. 

Around 30,000 revellers attended Edinburgh’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations as they returned for the first time in three years.

The event had been cancelled for the last two years as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

Thousands enjoyed what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the “first full Hogmanay celebrations in three years” with a huge party in Princes Street returning after being shut down due to the pandemic.

“Thinking back to Hogmanay last year and indeed the year before that, we’re reminded of just how far we have come from the very darkest days of the pandemic,” Ms Sturgeon said in a New Year’s Eve message on Twitter. 

Organisers hailed the event as a major success, with all events in the capital sold out.

Celebrations kicked off on Friday evening with the Night Afore party, headlined by pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor with special guests Altered Images.

And, despite heavy rain and falling temperatures, tens of thousands of partygoers rang in the new year on Saturday at the city’s Street Party and concert in Princes Street Gardens, where they were treated to a headline performance from The Pet Shop Boys and DJ sets.

Fireworks were let off on the hour between 9pm and 11pm, counting down to the traditional midnight display.

As the clock struck midnight and 2023 began, the Met Office predicted temperatures of 1C, dropping to 0C by 3am.

Lothian Buses launched a special Hogmanay fare to get people home safely and Edinburgh Trams ran services until 5am, transporting some 4,000 people home.

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Neil Tennant, of the Pet Shop Boys, told BBC Scotland ahead of the concert: "It's a really exciting show to play, when you get here you realise Hogmanay is a big deal in Edinburgh.

"We played it first nine years ago and it was just a fantastic audience, it's an amazing site with the castle above you and everyone's there to have a good time."

The duo have another tour planned for 2023, including their first Aberdeen gig in decades.

City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day said: “Once again, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations have been the envy of cities across the globe.

“With one of the most impressive fireworks displays against the most stunning of backdrops, this was a fantastic way to ring in 2023.”

He added: “Tonight has truly been an international celebration of Scotland.”

The Herald:

Rain didn't stop the party in Edinburgh

Alan Thomson and Dani Rae, directors of UniqueAssembly who produced Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “”What a great night. Pet Shop Boys rocked the Concert in the Gardens, and revellers across the Street Party danced the night away with the fantastic wristbands, which really made everybody part of the party.”

Superintendent David Robertson, Police Scotland’s event policing lead for the Street Party policing operation, said: “Significant planning and preparation was undertaken ahead of the city’s first Street Party since 2019 and I am pleased to say that it has passed without serious incident.

“My thanks go out to all of the officers, stewarding staff and other key partners who worked diligently to ensure the Hogmanay celebrations were a success.”

The celebrations were mirrored across the UK, with a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathering along the Thames Embankment in central London to watch 12,000 fireworks streak across the sky.

The display paid tribute to the late Queen, featuring a voice recording from her and words from Dame Judi Dench, before honouring the King, together with a message from Charles about the need to preserve our planet’s future.

Drones spelled out a positive message during the show, welcoming in “2023 with love from London” as fireworks exploded behind them.

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Revellers on Carlton Hill light sparklers during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh, people queued in the rain to enter the party in Princes Street.

Revellers were also able to become part of the Hogmanay show with illuminated LED wristbands, which were connected to the sound system, allowing people to create patterns in time with music played.

Organisers said all events on 31 December had sold out, including the candlelit concert in St Giles' Cathedral and the Festival of Ceilidhs Countdown to Hogmanay.

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Partygoes queue in Edinburgh

In other parts of Scotland, Glasgow celebrated the Ashton Lane Street Party, featuring a live band, indoor and outdoor bars and fireworks.

There was also a party at the city's Merchant Square with performances from the French Fling Showgirls, Scott & The Fox and The Riffreshers.

In Aberdeen, locals headed to a Hogmanay ceilidh at the Beach Ballroom with music from the Hipflask Ceilidh Band.

Stirling had a series of events lined up, including live music at the Albert Halls, a ceilidh at the Tolbooth, and fireworks above the National Wallace Monument.

Scotland's largest free Hogmanay celebration took place in Inverness, with the Red Hot Highland Fling providing live music.

It was hosted by stand-up comedian Fred MacAulay on the banks of the River Ness in Northern Meeting Park.

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Fireworks liht up the night 

The tradition in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire sees locals wield fire to ward off unwelcome spirits.

Around 40 men and women will be led by a piper up and down the High Street swinging fireballs around their heads just before midnight.

READ MORE: Celebrations return for first time in three years

The tradition, which has been celebrated for more than 100 years, began as a cleansing ritual to burn off any bad spirits lingering from the old year to bring in a pure New Year.

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Stonehaven's procession (webcam)

Other celebrations were held across the UK. Big Ben bonged in England’s capital as a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered along the Thames Embankment in central London to watch 12,000 fireworks streak across the sky.

In East Yorkshire, re-enactors took part in the Flamborough Fire Festival in a Viking-themed parade.

Flamborough Fire FestivalViking re-enactors brandished swords at the Flamborough Fire Festival in Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

More artists rang in the new year with song as Eurovision star Sam Ryder performed hits on BBC One.

In Cardiff, families partied in the city’s Winter Wonderland, while people in Belfast celebrated at Europa Hotel’s annual Gala Ball.

Some of the world has already greeted the new year.

Pacific nation Kiribati was the first country to wave in 2023.

Auckland followed an hour later where huge crowds gathered below the Sky Tower for a countdown that ended in fireworks.

READ MORE: Scottish New Year tradition of first footing: free coal 

More than one million people flocked to Sydney’s waterfront in Australia as over 7000 fireworks were launched from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and another 2,000 from the Opera House.

Celebrations were also held at the Great Wall in Beijing, while Shanghai Disneyland put on a special fireworks show.

In Ukraine, some soldiers decided to stay in the trenches to defend their country while others returned to Kyiv to spend New Year’s Eve with their loved ones.