Scottish Christmas traditions

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The Return of Paganism in Modern-Day Scotland

Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. Ancient Celts marked Samhain as the most significant of the four quarterly fire festivals, taking place at the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. During this time of year, hearth fires in family homes were left to burn out while the harvest was gathered. After the harvest work was complete, celebrants joined with Druid priests to light a community fire using a wheel that would cause friction and spark flames.

The wheel was considered a representation of the sun and used along with prayers. Cattle were sacrificed, and participants took a flame from the communal bonfire back to their home to relight the hearth.

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The tradition of fire festivals date back to ancient pagan rituals that were practiced in many places across Scotland. While The Burning of the Clavie has its roots in these rituals, it celebrates a much more recent occurrence. Then in the s the Catholic church replaced the existing Julian Calendar with the revised Gregorian Calendar, moving the first day of the New Year back by 11 days.

This was construed by many as another measure to get rid of any still existing pagan practices. Onlookers then rush in to collect the live coals with which to light their first fire of the year. Other remnants of the burning are collected and sent to acquaintances how have moved away from Burghead. The Burning of the Clavie is still proudly celebrated in Burghead each year and while spectators can attend, only the village citizens can participate.

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A place filled with craggy peaks and ancient lochs, Scotland attracts thousands of visitors who come to admire its wealth of dramatic scenery.

Scotland has many traditional and quirky festivals but to be honest most of us don’t need an excuse to celebrate how amazing our country is and what it has to offer. Here is a selection, with links to some other websites for more detailed information. Visiting friends and relatives immediately after New Year’s Eve, in the early hours of the morning of January 1st.

First footing after the bells have rung in the New Year is still common – the “first foot” in the house after midnight should be male, dark, and handsome and should carry symbolic coal, shortbread, salt, black bun a spiced cake and, of course, whisky. Guizer Jarl calls for three cheers for the builders of the longship and after a bugle call, the galley is set alight by blazing torches. It is now a Scottish legal “quarter day” when rents and other payments fall due.

If the same name was drawn three times, it meant a marriage would take place! The date often moves because the calculation is based on phases of the moon. In Scotland, to this day, “hot cross buns” are baked, containing spices and fruit and with a white pastry cross. On Good Friday, no ploughing was done and no seed was sown. The custom of rolling painted, hard-boiled eggs down a hill took place on Easter Monday. But the jokes had to stop at mid-day.

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New Year’s Eve is a big celebration for millions of people all over the world. But it is a particularly big deal in Scotland where it is called Hogmanay. Festivities take place all over Scotland and last for three days, beginning at the end of December and ending on 2 January.

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Dark Age/Early Medieval Scotland

In the later first millennium a. The evidence for the various groups contributing to the development of the kingdom of Scotland is uneven, however, both in terms of historical sources and archaeological research. It is therefore necessary to consider the broadest possible range of information to reconstruct the period: archaeology, history, linguistics and place-name studies, and art history provide the most significant evidence.

The early medieval period in Scotland can be divided into three major phases.

The Christianisation of Scotland was the process by which Christianity spread in what is now While the Picts and Scots would have remained pagan, most scholars presume that Christianity would have survived after the departure of the The earliest is the so-called Latinus stone of Whithorn, dating to around

Spiritualist, medium and the last person in Britain to be tried and sentenced under the Witchcraft Act. These spirits were said to appear, talking and actually touching their relatives. In , she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of British seamen when the German U-boat U torpedoed the ship.

After some order had been restored, Helen was formally arrested. It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details.

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The Christianisation of Scotland was the process by which Christianity spread in what is now Scotland , which took place principally between the fifth and tenth centuries. Christianity was probably introduced to what is now Lowland Scotland by Roman soldiers stationed in the north of the province of Britannia. Traditional narratives depict Scotland as largely converted by Irish missions associated with figures such as St. Columba , from the fifth to the seventh centuries, but many of these figures were later constructs or founded monasteries and collegiate churches in areas to which Christianity had already spread.

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Plans for have been met with many cancellations, with major events including Glastonbury , the Olympics and the Euros all being forced to postpone. But while events may not have gone ahead as planned, there are some special days that can still be celebrated during lockdown — including Beltane. Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival and is most commonly celebrated on 1 May, around halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The festival was historically widely observed throughout Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and is one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh.

It marks the return of fertility to the land when livestock would have been put out to pasture, celebrating the new life that will emerge as the seasons transition. Historically, rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage fertility and growth. Beltane has been observed for centuries in Europe and is now embraced by pagans, who mark the occasion with the lighting of bonfires, dance and rituals. Fire was considered a purifier and healer, and so communities would dance and jump around a bonfire in celebration, while farmers would also have driven their cattle between bonfires to cleanse them before putting them out into the fields.

Such gatherings would often be accompanied by a feast, while yellow May flowers, such as primrose, were placed in doorways and windows during the 19th century in Scotland and Ireland, perhaps because they evoked the colours of fire. Loose flowers were sometimes made into bouquets and garlands, which would be fastened to cows and farming equipment, with such customs being observed across Europe on May Day. People also used to visit holy wells during Beltane, with people leaving offerings and praying for good health.

Water drawn from a well on Beltane, along with morning dew, was thought to bring beauty and maintain use, with maidern washing their face with it to increase their sexual attraction. The festival is also a celebration of fertility, with the spring and summer seasons being a time for new life to flourish. It marked a time of courtship rituals and saw people jump the bonfire to purify, cleanse and bring fertility.

Important Rules Tourists Need To Know Before Dating In Scotland

You can now search our website to see what businesses are open and signed up to the Good to Go scheme. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid on our dedicated page. Why would you choose a New Year break in Scotland? Well, no other nation in the world celebrates the New Year with quite as much revelry and passion as Scotland does, and it’s hardly surprising that the enormous celebration that engulfs the country is legendary the world over. Hogmanay is what we Scots call New Year’s Eve – 31 December – the big night that marks the arrival of the new year.

Its origins reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Vikings with wild parties in late December.

decoration at Christmas, a practice once banned by the Council of Churches due to its pagan roots. Carols such as ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ are thought to date.

Easter Monday occurs after Easter Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection, according to Christian belief. Easter Monday is a public holiday in some areas see list below , where it is a day off and schools and most businesses are closed. In other areas, Easter Monday is a normal working day. For many people, Easter Monday is the last day in a four day weekend.

If people have been on a short vacation or have visited family or friends, who live some distance away, they often travel back on this day. For other people, it is just a welcome day off to enjoy the spring weather or work on their garden or home improvements.

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