4. Hogmanay - Scotland
One of the most famous year-end traditions is also one of the strangest; Hogmanay is a decadent Scottish celebration that begins on New Year's Eve, and depending on who is taking part, often continues right through to January 2nd. One of the most famous - if less crazed - traditions is so-called "first-footing", whereby it is a badge of honour to be the first person to cross the threshold of a friend's home after midnight, usually bearing gifts as well. The home-owner is supposed to greet them with food and drink, and these festivities may go on well into the early hours, especially if the person crossing the threshold is a tall dark man, reportedly a sign of good luck for the coming year. The more adventurous aspects of the Hogmanay tradition vary from location to location, but one consistency is the practise originated in Stonehaven, of making large balls out of assorted rubbish, attaching a chain or wire to it, then setting it alight and swinging it around while walking down the - usually blocked-off - high street. Though most of the balls are extinguished by the end of the procession, those still alight are cast into the harbour. The activity has been hugely popular for years, and continues to attract tens-of-thousands of tourists to the area. In Glasgow, other aspects of the festival include singing, dancing and the indulgent consumption of as much pie and drink as possible.