Scottish Lighthouse Mysteries. Scottish people celebrate Christmas by drawing on plenty of other traditions found across countries in Europe and the West. Whoever finds a … See more ideas about yule, yule traditions, yuletide. At this time of year there’s plenty washed up on the beach. Traditional Scottish Christmas Gifts. A conventional Christmas lunch includes Scotch broth, smoked salmon, roast turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding and brandy custard. ‘When the hallow days o Yule were come 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. Christmas Gifts for Him Ash has long been associated with protection from witchcraft and the Devil. (1962) Sacrifice and Sacrament. 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. Sprinkle it with a libation of ale before setting light to it in your fireplace or outside. Leave the lid on. What is common in most solstice tradition is that this time of year is about coming together and remembering the past. Viking Yule. This ash faggot Night The outline of the chalked woman would burn away as the fire grew – charring the old wife. Polygon. Ash has so much folklore surrounding it; it’s hard just to focus on a few elements. There are a couple of ideas I’d like to share with you. Why Scotland should once again celebrate the traditional end of Christmas (in February) – Stephen Jardine scotsman.com - Stephen Jardine. As soon as the Yule log stopped burning it was back to the bad cider. Scottish traditions have their roots deep-set in history, and the Highland Games have been around for over a thousand years, perhaps even longer. 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. The ancient people of northern Europe were hunter gatherers, many of whom worshipped the sun. Charity to others in the community was also a big part of Yule. If you didn't keep your fire burning continually, unwanted spirits would supposedly come down the fireplace and into your home, bringing bad luck. The Burning Heart of Scotland’s Yule – Charring the Old Wife, The Lightbringers: The Folklore of the Turning Year. Each took turns Christmas comes late for residents of one tiny Scottish island who will celebrate the festivities today in a tradition that has lasted for as long as anyone living there can remember. The clavie is a big bonfire, fueled primarily by split casks. Scottish Christmas traditions Working on Christmas Day is now a distant memory for lots of Scots, but there are other old traditions that people still hold onto. It’s that time of year! The ancient Romans also held a solstice festival at this time, called Saturnalia, to celebrate the rebirth of the year. With her hand resembling a blasted branch, she would point a finger at your head and send you mad or put her hand on your heart, stopping it dead. Sol Invictus (“The Unconquered Sun”) was originally a Syrian deity, who was adopted as the chief of the Roman gods. 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. Holly and mistletoe have remained symbols of Christmas as has the yule log and the yule boar or Christmas ham as it’s now known. On the practical side, as long as the Yule log burnt, the feasting would continue, so Scottish folk always tried to get the biggest log to burn. 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. We take a look at the almost completely lost highland tradition of the Clach an Groait stone, the world famous Orkney Ba tournament, and an old lady and her festive pig. This was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. The reason for this practice is to aid charity. Princes Risbororough, Shire. 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. © #FolkloreThursday 2018 Did the entry of the sun represent rebirth, or a fertility rite of some sort? One of the Scottish Christmas traditions that was banned for many years was the baking of Yule bread. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime which was ultimately unsustainable. According to Hesiod, the people of the third age of the world (Bronze Age) were born of the Ash tree. Will the Real Father Christmas Please Stand Up. A’ wheest in the daurk we savour oor love.” Most of our Scottish Christmas gifts can be made to measure in over 500 Scottish clan tartans - find the right one using our Scottish Tartan & Clan Finder. Yule is Germanic in origin but seems to have made its way west to the English-speaking lands over the centuries and been absorbed by Christian culture. Sun return’. Ash is in the same family as the oilive tree (oleaceae). Some suggest this replaced the proprietary sacrifice required at this time. Christmas has been marked in Ireland since St. Patrick brought Christianity to the island in the fifth century. Traditionally the Yule bannock and other dishes should be cooked over the heat from the Yule log burning in the hearth throughout the festive time. Other traditional names for the season allude to the light it brings to hearth and home such as Oidhche Choinnle , ‘Candle Night’. The roots of the Christmas traditions that we recognize today can be traced back to pre-Christian celebrations of the Winter solstice. The years worth of soot was said to be ‘soot for the de’ils breakfast’ and served to the de’il or devil on Yule morning. The tradition of the Yule log began in Celtic times when it was believed that the sun stood still for 12 days during winter. Edinburgh. Christmas Special: Highland Yule Traditions In this episode, Annie and Jenny take a festive Yuletide jaunt around Christmas time traditions in Scotland. Because of the somewhat complicated history of Christmas in Scotland – with the Kirk’s banning of any celebration of it in the sixteenth century – the customs that can be found at this time of year are often to be found at both Yule and Hogmanay or New Year’s Day, since many of the Yule traditions were simply transferred from one to the other to avoid punishment. Many of the Scottish traditions are rooted in the customs of ancient Celtic culture and the Roman Catholic Church practices. Shamrock – national flower of Ireland . Interestingly, there was a tradition in Buckie in Banffshire, Scotland, where fishermen would clean the chimney of the soot on the run up to Yule. Get a Yule kebbuck – a special cheese flavoured with caraway seed. It was also to symbolise the idea that life could continue in the darkness, since around Christmas is the longest nights of the year. Although this tradition has all but disappeared, it was once an important part of the Christmas season in rural Ireland. Others note if a tempest raged outside, folks would throw the saved part of the Yule log on the fire, to calm it. • Decorate a large, dry oak log with long sprays of juniper and other greenery. Others say it might be a way or propitiating the spirits, like ‘knocking on wood for luck’, or perhaps reminiscent of earlier sacrifices carried out at this time of year. On your psalters pray Bake some Yule bannocks. He was afraid that the world was returning to the chaos and emptiness that existed before creation, so he fasted. In Ireland, the yule-log was called the bloc na Nollaig, or Christmas block. To folk in Scotland however,  the period over Christmas was once known as the Yules, a time of extended feasting and celebration. In some cases it had to burn continually from the 24th of December until Old Christmas Eve on the 5th of January. Later, a last piece of Yule log would be saved to light next year's fire. In Scotland, folk used to sit on the Yule log before it was burnt, and, if it was big enough, when it was on the fire. In Somerset, there is a legend where ‘the one with the white hand’ (a birch it is believed) was a spirit haunting Taunton Moorland. Though nature is at its lowest ebb at Yule, we still find a way to bring the power of the landscape in to our homes and communities. When stripped of its bark, the birk, or birch, was dried for burning over the Yules. So those with ill will that needs mending In a way, this serves a purpose not completely divorced from the original intentions. The Winter Solstice falls on the 21st of December. One of these is joined back together with a big nail, filled with flammable material, and lit on fire. This Yuletide maybe bring a little of the protective magic of birch and ash into your home. One is for birch twig tea, the other for pickled ash keys. The gathering of the Yule log was announced with much drama and mirth. On farms in 18th century Norfolk the best cider was served only as long as the Yule log burnt. A gift demands a gift. (1890) Cornish Feasts and Folklore. Swimming the Loony Dook - quite possibly the looniest Scottish New Year tradition. Not only for the light and warmth but also to keep alive a tradition with roots far deeper than any tree. The above is taken from the ‘Wife of Usher’s Well’, found in English and Scottish Popular Ballads, collected by Francis James Child. She was deadly pale and wore clothes rustling like dry dead leaves. Traditional medicine of the highlands and islands. 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 and human birth are linked in many ways. The old wood was lit, then the new log was placed on top. At the mid-winter solstice they would light bonfires, tell stories and drink ale, in addition to making sacrifices to the gods to earn blessing on the forthcoming crops. Christmas traditions in Scotland. Creating a way for you to bring a little of the trees magic into your pantry. 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. Today folks still whip themselves with birch twigs after a sauna, some say to increase fertility, others suggest it drives away evil spirits. Thames and Hudson. The ancient Celtic people believed that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit, using the remains of the previous year’s fire. Some folk gently roast the twigs, which is said to make the brew a little sweeter. In Scotland, folk used to sit on the Yule log before it was burnt, and, if it was big enough, when it was on the fire. A huge thank you to all of our official sponsors, and everyone who pledges to keep #FolkloreThursday running! To make birch twig tea is really simple. In the northern hemisphere, this date marks the turning point of the season, the shortest day and the longest night. In Scotland, Hogmanay is even more important than Christmas. And the nichts were lang and mirk Is of peace, good and right Cover with a lid and decoct, simmering for around 20 mins. At one time guisers were as common at New Year as they were at Halloween. Christmas Traditions in Scotland 20th December 2020. Scottish Christmas Traditions Bringing greenery into the house. Because green wood was used, it would have made quite a loud noise when it did snap. Christmas Special: Highland Yule Traditions. Much of our current festive tradition actually originates with pagan solstice customs, such as decorating the Yule tree. Celtic and Druidic Priests In Scotland, before the arrival of Christianity, on the solstice, Celtic priests would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. In the Highlands, the midwife would make sure the first thing a newborn ate was ash sap. For example, some folk like to bake unleavened Yule bread for each person in their family. Celebrations have evolved and changed, but the date of the solstice remains fixed. People put presents under the tree and leave mince pies for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. #FolkloreThursday 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1N 3AX. Once he saw that the days were getting longer again he realised that this was the natural cycle of the world, so celebrated. To dream of pulling the ‘birk sae green’ portends death in the ballad, ‘The Braes o Yarrow’. light the new block, 2nd ed. Similarly, in parts of Somerset, Ashen Faggot Night was celebrated, where ash replaced the birch. Up to a thousand people in fancy dress throw themselves into the icy water of the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry, just a few miles out of the Scottish … And Jenny to her wheel.” Birch is equally associated with protection and fertility. The Yule log was burned in the fireplace, there was kissing under the mistletoe (related to a Druidic fertility rite) and the house was decorated with … A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The solstice is the twice yearly event when the sun appears to be at its highest or lowest point above the horizon. Edinburgh. The winners were the team who could drag the Yule log to their side of the town. Courtney, M.A. If we look beyond this, nature’s gift and sacrifice is found in the burning heart of Yule – the Yule log of ash or birch. The blazing yule-log was the crowning glory of the Scottish midwinter feast. This overindulgence kicked off the traditions of the Yuletide, the Yule feast and the Yule Log. Scottish tradition diner along with Scottish stuffing has never been made with sausage meat and especially YOU MUST NEVER use Sage and Onion, this is an English tradition. If the household managed to retain the bit of old Yule log they would use it to light the new one. and for good successe in spending Wheel turn No content from this site may be used elsewhere without the permission of either #FolkloreThursday or the article author. In Scotland, before the arrival of Christianity, on the solstice, Celtic priests would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Some traditions kept the ash from the Yule log in the cellar, protecting from witches and bringing good luck. Wreaths of ash were wrapped around cow horns, and English mothers rigged little hammocks for their newborns in ash trees, believing the tree would protect them from witches and wild animals whilst they worked. Prior to the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland, then called Yule (alternative spellings include Yhoill, Yuil, Ȝule and Ȝoull; see Yogh), was celebrated in a similar fashion to the rest of Catholic Europe. According to Ronald Hutton's "Stations of the Sun", Yule brought with it traditional rites of purification and blessing. One of the Scottish Christmas traditions that was banned for so many years included the baking of Yule bread. Yule Figgy Pudding. Yule and Hogmanay Revels,Traditions, Fishy Tails Guisers and Revels at Hogmanay Most of the old Scottish customs regarding Christmas and Hogmanay have faded into nothingness. Yule, the winter solstice, is a time of great symbolism and power.It marks the return of the sun, when the days finally begin to get a little longer. If you are OK with this please click the button, if not please read our privacy policy. These foods, along with plentiful meat, featured heavily in the celebrations, and every effort was made to obtain flesh and eat it after the sun had set on Yule. This precise alignment allows the light at the darkest point of the year to illuminate this spectacular house of the dead. It is pronounced no-leg show-na ditch. I have to say I don't think we make as much of this as I think we should. In the later Roman Empire his birthday was celebrated on December 25. The ballad alludes to ‘wearing a birch hat,’ – a metaphor for death and the dead. Though Scotland hasn't always celebrated Christmas enthusiastically it does have an interesting selection of festive traditions. Calderwood recorded that in 1545, a few months before his murder, Cardinal Beaton had "passed over the Christmasse dayes with games and feasting". The huge Yule log was carried into the middle of town and ropes and chains attached. This bizarre celebration takes place on the first day of the New Year. Let your heart be made clean The company was founded in 1975 by his father James C. Yule and Jim has carried on the tradition, proudly bearing his name James W. Yule on his truck. Swimming the Loony Dook - quite possibly the looniest Scottish New Year tradition. Divinations were made according to the burst and snap of the willow, hazel or green ash bands around the log as it swelled in the fire. Today, fire and feasts play an important part of Scottish Christmas traditions. St Andrews Day - is celebrated on 30th November every year. Owner-driver Jim Yule runs a timber haulage business in Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. “While Santa keeks doon frae the mantle above, It is the source of many theories; does this shaft of sunlight carry away the souls of the dead? Christmas Traditions - a Scottish Christmas is very similar to Christmas throughout the world. Necromancy and the dead are very common in Scottish folk magic, which you can read more about here. Christmas swim. Some Scottish Customs and Traditions are important to us and some are marked every year in our diaries. Jim’s son James K. Yule will also be joining the family when he takes his HGV driving test this summer. Regardless of the type of tree burnt, folks would ensure they kept a piece of the burnt Yule log throughout the year that followed. 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. A loaf of unleavened bread was baked for each individual in the family - made with caraway seeds, it looks a bit like a rope arranged into a circle. The birk in this case refers to the birch tree. Following the Reformation, however, these traditional celebrations became frowned upon. Rising up out of the scrub of birch and oak, it drifted up to lonely travellers so fast they could not escape. It has a nice sweet winter green like taste. Containing descriptions of their scenery and Antiquities. We take a look at the almost completely lost highland tradition of the Clach an Groait stone, the world famous Orkney Ba tournament, and an old lady and her festive pig. – Popular Rhymes in Scotland. the Yule log crackles oan this Christmas Nicht, In Lincolnshire, the female ash (called sheder) would protect against male witches. Thanks to modern technology it is possible to experience a small part of what the original solstice celebrants must have envisioned. by Catherine Bentley | Dec 17, 2015 | Fascinating Facts, History & Folklore. In the northern hemisphere the Winter solstice usually occurs annually between December 20 and December 23. 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Practice of gift giving evolved from the Yule log think we make as much of current... That we recognize today can be traced back to pre-Christian celebrations of the trees into. Together scottish yule traditions remembering the past s hard just to focus on a tree trunk, many of the would... Has continued, without hunting small birds then start, each team tugging and their. Crackles ’ – a special cheese flavoured with caraway seed the spirit of giving thanks to the.! Fire burn together ’ Scottish '' aspect to Christmas it is that it was celebrated, where replaced. Is celebrated on December 25 in other Celtic countries, but Scotland has those particular the. Degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime which was ultimately unsustainable Yuletide. Had to burn continually from the North the festivities would continue out the entire process can! Cultural importance in Scotland on the 5th of January he realised that this was the cycle! 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