The sight of Forth Bridge, thousands of people dressed-up over-the-top, and freezing cold water — what are we all up to?
What do you remember about your New Year’s Days in the past? In Korea, we officially get one year older by eating mandooguk (Korean dumpling soup) on the morning of New Year’s Day. It’s also a long tradition to ring a large bell in Bosingak on Bell Street 33 times at the stroke of midnight to wish for a peaceful year. We all used to stay up to watch the bell ringing because we were told that our eyebrows would turn silver if we fell asleep before midnight! I had a lot of frightening childhood memories of New Year’s Eve.
I did something different this year — I took the plunge. Where? In South Queensferry, Scotland. For what? For the Loony Dook. Why? I don’t know…
The Loony Dook, literally meaning ‘lunatic dip’, is a Scottish tradition that started in 1986 as a joke. Gotta love that Scottish humor! Some locals thought jumping in the cold water in the Firth of Forth would be the best hangover cure. Which it is. The following year they decided to repeat the event for charity. Up until now, thousands of people have taken the plunge, raising tens of thousands of pounds for charities across the UK. Now the Loony Dook has become a part of Edinburgh’s official Hogmanay celebrations.
Taking the plunge is the main event of the Loony Dook, but costumes are what makes diving in so special. The scene here looks like the inside of a child’s overactive, imaginative brain. It’s like a humorous and friendly big brother of Halloween. We had people wearing all sorts, from simple swimsuits, a guy with E.T., Nessie the Loch Ness monster, a man with a man-kini (if you don’t know what one is, trust me, you do not need to know), lots of animal onesies, guys dressed up as old ladies, to the guy in the red dress named Sebastian. I wore a modest costume with a lady’s kilt and tartan hat. I felt quite under-dressed.
Everything happened so fast. We paraded into South Queensferry and walked right to the beach. There was no hesitation — we ran into the water – just like that. The water was freezing cold. No surprise there, because it was the first day of January in Scotland. The moment the water touched my body I couldn’t help but wonder ‘What did I get myself into?’. It was cold. We all screamed, like frightened little girls. But we did it.
The feeling I had after the plunge made me realize why so many people come here to participate in this loony event. I had just jumped into the freezing water, wearing practically nothing. By this little act of courage, I felt like I could do anything.
New Year’s Day is the time when we all think about our new year’s resolutions and make new promises. Last year’s resolutions might not be all completed, but we just hope that the new list will make it to the end of the new year. Jumping into the Firth of Forth certainly pumped me up big time!
I feel like I can do this. I can make the best of 2015. Because I’m officially Loony Dooked!
#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, EventScotland, VisitS