Christmas Q-Aye – Scottish Facts Part 8
Festive facts in the spirit of the season
Put yourself to the test with our collection of weird and wonderful Scottish Christmas Facts. How many did you know?
29. Christmas was virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years- from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s – and Christmas Day wasn’t even a Scottish public holiday until 1958!
John Knox, the leader of the Presbyterian movement, banned the celebration of Christmas in Scotland in 1580. On 27 December 1583, five people in Glasgow were brought before the kirk session and sternly ordered to make public repentance for ‘keeping Yule’. During the Christmas of 1605, five Aberdonians were prosecuted for going through the town, ‘maskit and dancing with bellis’
30. An ancient traditional New Year ceremony would involve people dressing up in the hides of cattle and running around the village being hit by sticks. The festivities would also include the lighting of bonfires, rolling blazing tar barrels down the hill and tossing torches. Animal hide was also wrapped around sticks and ignited which produced a smoke that was believed to be very effective to ward off evil spirits. The smoking stick was also known as a Hogmanay.
31. The New Year staple, Shortbread has been attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, who in the mid-16th century was said to be very fond of Petticoat Tails, a thin, crisp, buttery shortbread originally flavoured with caraway seeds.
32. The old Scottish name for a turkey is a bubbly jock. Some say it got this name because of the noises the bird makes but another suggestion is that it’s because the bird’s wattle or comb hangs over its beak and the bird looks like it has a permanently runny nose!
That it for our Christmas Q-Aye! We’ll have another instalment of quirky Scottish facts in the spring.