CUSTOMS & BELIEFS ASSOCIATED WITH SCOTTISH CHRISTMAS:
BLACK CAKE - It is a very rich fruit cake, almost solid with fruit, almonds, spices
and the ingredients are bound together with plenty of Whisky.
SUN CAKES - Baked with a hole in the centre and symmetrical lines around,
representing the rays of the Sun. This pattern is now found on the modern
BEES - There is an old belief that early on Christmas Morning all bees will leave
their hives, swarm, and then return. Many old Scots tell tales of having witnessed
this happening, though no-one can explain why.
Divination customs –ASHES - One involves checking the cold ashes the morning
after the Christmas fire. A foot shape facing the door was said to be foretelling a
death in the family, while a foot facing into the room meant a new arrival.
Divination customs – CAILLEACH - Ceremonial burning of Old Winter. A piece of
wood was carved roughly to represent the face of an old woman, then named as
the Spirit of Winter, the Cailleach. This was placed onto a good fire to burn away,
and all the family gathered had to watch to the end. The burning symbolised the
ending of all the bad luck and enmities etc of the old year, with a fresh start.
Divination customs – BULL - It was believed that a bull would cross the sky in the
form of a cloud, early on the morning on Candlemas, February 2nd. From its
appearance people would divine. An East travelling cloud foretold a good year,
south meant a poor grain year, but if it faced to the west the year would be poor.
This custom was a remnant of the ancient Mithraiac religion, when the Bull-god
would come at the start of Spring to warn of the year the farmers could expect.
CANDLELIGHT - Lighting a candle at Christmastime to light the way of a
stranger. Candles were placed in every window to light the way for the Holy
Family on Christmas Eve and First Footers on New Years Eve. Shopkeepers gave
their customers Yule Candles as a symbol of goodwill wishing them a 'Fire to
warm you by, and a light to guide you'.
FIRST FOOTERS - It was and still is the custom for a stranger to enter the house
after midnight on New Years Eve/Day. The Firstfooter must make an offering, a
HANDSEL. This can be food, drink or fuel for the fire.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS IN MY HOUSE by Luke Abernethy
Count down to Christmas
ADVENT CALENDARS – We always do a few Advent calendars. This year Zander
and I do a fun Lego one, Sam and Imogen do a PlayMobile one. But all the kids do
the religious one, which has a star that plays music and Sam always makes a joke
about where the pieces go.
TREE DECORATION – we always do this as a family
Christmas Eve Traditions
BOWL OF WATER, MINCE PIE, CARROT, BEER – Left out every year for Santa and
STOCKINGS – We hang stockings on our doors to tell us if Santa has been, these
get filled up with sweets and other silly treats
Christmas Day Traditions
CHRISTMAS MEAL – Is celebrated every year with my Mum, Dad, Sam, Imogen,
Zander and my Auntie Kim who comes up especially from Newcastle every year.
FANCY DRESS – every year we wear fancy dress for our Christmas meal, this year
it is Christmas Jumpers (it was to be Avengers but Mum and Dad ran out of time).
BRUSSEL SPROUTS – Even though we all hate them Mum makes us all eat our
annual Brussel Sprout (Yuck!!!!)
FOOD – My mum prepares amazing food for us all