History And Traditions It is believed that the Vikings came to Scotland during the 8th century, and when they left, they left behind a few traditions and festivities that we now call Christmas. Then, with the powerful Kirk frowning upon anything related to Roman Catholicism, the Scottish Parliament passed a law in 1640 that made celebrating ‘Yule vacations’ illegal. Ash has so much folklore surrounding it; it’s hard just to focus on a few elements. One still-popular custom is first-footing, which traditionally saw the first visitor to set foot in the household bring a gift such as coal, shortbread, salt, black bun or whisky. Ash is in the same family as the oilive tree (oleaceae). Evil Spurn Princes Risbororough, Shire. There are many perks to being a member of the Royal Family. These standing stones date from about 3,000 years BC and, although academics still argue about their precise purpose, there is no questioning the powerful pull they have. At one time guisers were as common at New Year as they were at Halloween. Scottish traditions have their roots deep-set in history, and the Highland Games have been around for over a thousand years, perhaps even longer. ‘When the hallow days o Yule were come Historians believe that many fascinating Hogmanay customs and traditions have their roots in pagan festivals such as the Norse Winter Solstice, the Viking Yule, and the Gaelic Samhain. Once he saw that the days were getting longer again he realised that this was the natural cycle of the world, so celebrated. Birch is equally associated with protection and fertility. The following two tabs change content below. Containing descriptions of their scenery and Antiquities. It’s easy to see why in some cases the Yule log was nigh on a tree trunk. Do you have a subject you would like us to cover, well just drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do. Traditions in Scotland at this time of year have strong links with Gaelic and even Viking Yule time celebrations … also called ‘Daft Days’ in Scotland, probably due in part to the consumption of whisky. Yuletide Traditions of Scotland. The winners were the team who could drag the Yule log to their side of the town. According to tradition it was extremely unlucky for a barefooted woman or a squint eyed man to see the yule log; and a flat footed visitor to the house whilst the log was burning was a very bad omen. First Footing After the stroke of midnight, neighbors visit each other, bearing traditional symbolic … There is no doubt the tree was held sacred by the people of the UK and beyond. Even after Charles II was restored to the throne, celebrating Christmas was frowned upon in Scotland for a long time – it wasn’t until 1958 that 25 December became a Scottish public holiday. It was also the Druidic priests who maintained the tradition of the yule log. Perhaps you know someone with an affinity or connection with a Scottish Clan? Traditional Scottish Christmas Gifts. Some folk gently roast the twigs, which is said to make the brew a little sweeter. And we have feasted weel Find a birch tree and take off some of the small twigs found at the edge of the branches. Owner-driver Jim Yule runs a timber haulage business in Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Some Scottish Customs and Traditions are important to us and some are marked every year in our diaries. Is of peace, good and right The ancient people of northern Europe were hunter gatherers, many of whom worshipped the sun. by Catherine Bentley | Dec 17, 2015 | Fascinating Facts, History & Folklore. Many of the Scottish traditions are rooted in the customs of ancient Celtic culture and the Roman Catholic Church practices. Rather than write out the entire process you can find a great recipe here from the fantastic forager Robin Harford, based in Galloway. Nowadays at this time of year it is normal that people’s attention turns to celebrating Christmas, however, the ritual and history surrounding the solstice in this country and all over Europe, predate the arrival of Christianity by thousands of years and many festive celebrations have been adapted from much earlier traditions. Unlike in the past when Santa Claus would visit the first day of the New Year - Hogmanay, Santa has moved with the times and visits Scotland late Christmas Eve and the early hours of Christmas Day. Most cattle would be slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so a plentiful supply of fresh meat was available. That sweet luck In Ireland the tree was burnt to banish the Devil, and may be why it features as a Yule log. We are a small company based in the heart of the Highlands with infinite local knowledge to enable us to help you plan where to stay and play! According to Ronald Hutton's "Stations of the Sun", Yule brought with it traditional rites of purification and blessing. The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the tradition of hanging gifts on the tree as offerings to various Gods and Goddesses. As a contrast, the Talmud ascribes the origins of this festival to Adam, who saw that the days were getting shorter and thought it was punishment for his sin. They were known to bring greenery like Mistletoe into the house to be hung and encourage fertility (you can see where the kissing tradition came in!). Christmas swim. Instead of the £99 it costs tourists to watch sunrise at Stonehenge there will be a community of pagans, druids and assorted curious people gathered at Callanish on the solstice who will not be charged or chaperoned. Other traditional names for the season allude to the light it brings to hearth and home such as Oidhche Choinnle , ‘Candle Night’. Yule Figgy Pudding. One Scottish tradition is to keep their Christmas fires going all night long on Christmas Eve. Christmas spirit, a potent blend of being kind and nice to others, is what we require the most now. Whoever finds a … It was on this day that they ceremonially gathered mistletoe from oak trees. A loaf of unleavened bread is baked for each individual in the family, and the person who finds a trinket in his or her loaf will have good luck all year. Prior to the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland was called Yule, and also Yhoill or Yuil. The huge Yule log was carried into the middle of town and ropes and chains attached. In the northern hemisphere, this date marks the turning point of the season, the shortest day and the longest night. A wand ‘o bonny birk’ is laid on the breast of the dead in Sweet William’s Ghost. This ‘sacrifice’ helped keep death at bay until next Yule. Ash and birch are central and essential to the Yule celebration. Today folks still whip themselves with birch twigs after a sauna, some say to increase fertility, others suggest it drives away evil spirits. #FolkloreThursday 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1N 3AX. A conventional Christmas lunch includes Scotch broth, smoked salmon, roast turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding and brandy custard. Necromancy and the dead are very common in Scottish folk magic, which you can read more about here. The birch is a tree often associated with death. © #FolkloreThursday 2018 Creating a way for you to bring a little of the trees magic into your pantry. This Yule log tradition began all the way back in the 8th century when Viking families would save a log to be burned on the shortest day of the year and it was lit by the previous year’s log to bring prosperity and protection to everyone present. Those that did were destined to die. And an animistic folk practitioner ( of sorts ) writing primarily for northern. 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