Christmas in Scotland

If you are spending Christmas in Scotland this year you may or may not be aware of our old Christmas traditions! Here are a few facts and traditions for a Scottish Christmas!

Christmas was banned in Scotland for 400 years!

• Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas in the UK in 1647 and it was upheld for 15 years because of religious beliefs
• After Cromwell, Britain brought back Christmas everywhere in the UK bar Scotland
• The Ban lasted 400 years and was only dissolved in 1958
• Christmas was still celebrated in Scotland but in secret as it was against the law
• This is why Hogmanay is so popular within Scotland!

Some of the older traditions are still upheld, however I’m not sure I would recommend putting trinkets in food…

• Cracking an egg into a cup and seeing the shape that it created would determine the profession of the person who cracked it, when the egg is placed into a cake and the cake cracks during baking it means that the same person will have a year of bad luck.
• Burning a twig of rowan tree at Christmas was a way to clear bad feelings towards friends, family and neighbours.
• The Yule bread was baked every Christmas, it is made without a raising agent and baked for each member of the family. The person who found a trinket in their loaf would have good luck all year round.
• Placing candles in the window to welcome a stranger meant you were honouring the visit of the Holy Family.

In 1958 we got Christmas back!

• Scotland reintroduced Christmas again and adopted the traditions that the rest of the UK followed.
• Boxing day then became an annual tradition on Scotland as late as 1974

Scotland are in the full swing of Christmas at the moment celebrating old and new Christmas traditions

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Opening advent calendars
o Starting from December 1st, every day you open a door of the calendar which usually has a treat inside.

Decorating
o Christmas trees are usually decorated in lights, baubles, and tinsel with your choice of either a star or fairy on top
o Around towns and city centres you will see the streets adorned with lots of festive Christmas lights
o Statues of Santa and Christmas ornaments will be pulled out from lofts every year and displayed inside and outside of houses

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Santa
o Santa Claus is the legendary figure for Christmas
o Children will often leave cakes and biscuits along with a drink for Santa on Christmas eve and some carrots for his reindeer
o Children will write Christmas lists which are then burned in the fireplace so the letters can be delivered to Santa

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Stockings
o Stockings are hung at the end of the bed or beside the fireplace and are filled with small gifts on Christmas Eve.

A Scottish Christmas dinner

• Traditionally the meal would start with Scotch broth, followed by a meal of turkey, skirlie (stuffing), neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), pigs in blankets, gravy and sprouts. This is usually followed up by a dessert of either yule log, mince pies, Christmas pudding or a clootie dumpling! (fruit pudding steamed in a cloth) If your partial to a tipple, you might even have a whiskey to finish!

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• The table is decorated with napkins and Christmas hats and Christmas crackers too!

How do you guys celebrate Christmas?

Katie x

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