According to Ronald Hutton's "Stations of the Sun", Yule brought with it traditional rites of purification and blessing. In Irish (Gaelic) Nollaig Shona Duit means 'Happy Christmas to you.' London. Irish Christmas Blessings. Today's games are at the same time, both similar and dis similar, from the original Clan contests which are at the roots of these games. The ancient people of northern Europe were hunter gatherers, many of whom worshipped the sun. This ‘sacrifice’ helped keep death at bay until next Yule. 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. Polygon. This bizarre celebration takes place on the first day of the New Year. Celebrations have evolved and changed, but the date of the solstice remains fixed. Others note if a tempest raged outside, folks would throw the saved part of the Yule log on the fire, to calm it. A gift demands a gift. It was believed it would conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year. Sun return’. This overindulgence kicked off the traditions of the Yuletide, the Yule feast and the Yule Log. According to Hesiod, the people of the third age of the world (Bronze Age) were born of the Ash tree. So, if there is a specifically "Scottish" aspect to Christmas it is that it was not celebrated! Ash and birch are central and essential to the Yule celebration. The tradition of the Yule log is also practiced in Scotland at Christmas time. A convenient reminder that, despite the vast changes taking place in our world today, some things will always endure, always link back to the past. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking. 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. It was on this day that they ceremonially gathered mistletoe from oak trees. The Burning Heart of Scotland’s Yule – Charring the Old Wife, The Lightbringers: The Folklore of the Turning Year. 11022198. One of the centres for this pre Christian worship this solstice will be at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis. Penzance. As celebrations of saturnalia died away this evolved to become the pre-eminent winter festival, the date was eventually co-opted by Christians as the faith spread. Those that did were destined to die. The ancient Romans also held a solstice festival at this time, called Saturnalia, to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Thames and Hudson. Our aim is to showcase the best the Scottish Highlands & Islands has to offer. 3. You need a small handful for one cup. 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. Christmas Special: Highland Yule Traditions In this episode, Annie and Jenny take a festive Yuletide jaunt around Christmas time traditions in Scotland. Wil . 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. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. One of the Scottish Christmas traditions that was banned for so many years included the baking of Yule bread. 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. Take them home and bring about two cups of water to the boil. This is so the ‘old fire and the new fire burn together’. Not only does this help the over-all fitness of the Nation but helps raise valuable amounts for good causes. After 20 mins you will have a nice brown brew with maybe a little oil floating on the surface. Owner-driver Jim Yule runs a timber haulage business in Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In Somerset, there is a legend where ‘the one with the white hand’ (a birch it is believed) was a spirit haunting Taunton Moorland. No content from this site may be used elsewhere without the permission of either #FolkloreThursday or the article author. Recipes for such foods as the Ye’el Bannock or Yule Bannock, ‘sour cakes’ or ‘soor poos’ are still around today. Parham, R. J. 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! The blazing yule-log was the crowning glory of the Scottish midwinter feast. In some cases it had to burn continually from the 24th of December until Old Christmas Eve on the 5th of January. Today, fire and feasts play an important part of Scottish Christmas traditions. James, E.O. This bizarre celebration takes place on the first day of the New Year. He was afraid that the world was returning to the chaos and emptiness that existed before creation, so he fasted. • Decorate a large, dry oak log with long sprays of juniper and other greenery. ‘When the Yule log Crackles’ – Francis Kerr Young. Over the centuries, pagan Celtic customs merged with Christianity to produce some unique traditions for the winter festival. If you didn’t, the cattle would suffer come the following year, or so folk believed. There is no doubt the tree was held sacred by the people of the UK and beyond. And we have feasted weel Not only for the light and warmth but also to keep alive a tradition with roots far deeper than any tree. This ‘saved’ part of the log was said to protect houses from burning down and if kept under the bed was even said to protect from chilblains. It is the source of many theories; does this shaft of sunlight carry away the souls of the dead? The huge Yule log was carried into the middle of town and ropes and chains attached. Christmas Day being celebrated in Scotland on the 25th December. Food shortages were common during the first months of the winter, so this festival was the last celebration before deep winter began. Traditional Scottish Christmas Gifts. Yuletide Traditions of Scotland. You can see this idea echoed in the poem by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674): ‘With last year’s brand Christmas Gifts for Him Or was it simply a calendar to remind the islands ancient inhabitants that the darkest time of the year had passed and that the light was once again returning? If you would like to submit a blog post we welcome these from True Highlands members, so get listed! Containing descriptions of their scenery and Antiquities. It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). 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. There are many perks to being a member of the Royal Family. With the advent of Christianity, the Yule log tradition continued, albeit on a smaller scale. How One Scottish Town Revived a Local Tradition After 80 Years The “Stromness Yule Log Pull” is officially back. 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. Following on from the idea of traditional bannocks at festival times of the year and light, in this case candle, through the night. Here at Best Scottish Tours we love Christmas. Or so the story goes. Ash keys, once pickled, are a bit like capers. (2014) ‘Exmoor Traditions’, Folk Traditions Quarterly (2014) p41. Charity to others in the community was also a big part of Yule. First Footing After the stroke of midnight, neighbors visit each other, bearing traditional symbolic … 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. 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. Instead, the habit of visiting each other’s houses on 26 th December has continued, without hunting small birds! Then in and came her ain twa sons Prior to the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland was called Yule, and also Yhoill or Yuil. 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. With protection from witchcraft and scottish yule traditions festivities would continue so fast they could escape. 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