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Stonehaven Fireballs festival cancelled due to Covid

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image captionAt the end of the procession the flaming baskets are thrown into the sea

The Stonehaven Fireballs festival, one of Scotland's most famous Hogmanay events, has been cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Organisers said they had been working on a bid to stage the celebration within the guidelines.

But they have conceded the combination of large crowds in a small space would make social distancing impossible.

An online post said: "We are saddened and disappointed but feel this is the right thing to do at this point."

Tradition says the ceremony scares away the spirits from one year and brings good luck for the next.

'Come back swinging'

Crowds gather to watch the procession make its way through the town, with the fireballs being thrown into the harbour.

Remnants of the homemade balls are then retrieved from the sea.

The Fireballs Association thanked Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland for their help and advice and said the safety of the local community was paramount.

The statement concluded: "These are challenging times, and if ever there was a year that needed cleansed by fire... this is it!!

"But, all we can do is to come back swinging even stronger next year and have the Ba's burn twice as bright!!"

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