Indoors

  • Aberdeen Rowie

    The buttery, which is also known as a rowie or Aberdeen roll, is basically a bread roll, characterised by a flaky texture and buttery taste. They are often eaten toasted with jam/butter As the alternate name of Aberdeen roll suggests, butteries are a speciality of Aberdeen but they are actually common throughout the North East of Scotland and can be found in Elgin. They were created in the 1880s, to provide the growing Aberdeen fishing industry a type of high-fat roll which would keep for longer perio... Read More

  • Arbroath Smokies Angus Culinary Traditions Year round

    Arbroath Smokies are a particular variery of smoked haddock. They originated in Auchmithie, a small fishing village a few miles north of Arbroath. The smoking technique is similar to one used widely in Scandinavia, which indicates probable Scandinavian origins of the villagers Tradtionally, the fish was smoked in halved barrels with fires underneath, trapping the smoke under layers of hessian sacking. With the decline of local fishing industry at the start of the 20th century, much of the local population ... Read More

  • Bere Bannock

    A bere bannock is a kind of flatbread made with bere, a barley-like grain which has been grown in Orkney for thousands of years, both for human and animal food. In the old days, it was called bygg and today is usually called corn in Orkney. Its cultivation on any scale is currently restricted to Orkney. Bere is still milled at the Barony Mill by Loch Boardhouse on Mainland Orkney and bags of the flour can be bought there, or in local village shops. If you're using it for bread-making, it will produce a heav... Read More

  • Black Bun

    Black bun is a type of fruit cake that is baked within a pastry crust. It was originally eaten on Twelfth Night but now enjoyed at Hogmanay. The cake mixture typically contains raisins, currants, almonds, citrus peel, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and pepper.... Read More

  • Bridie

    A bridie or Forfar bridie is a Scottish type of meat pastry or pie, originally from the town of Forfar, reminiscent of a Cornish pasty, but made without potato! The bridie is made of minced beef, sometimes with onions and spices, placed on rolled-out pastry and folded into a semi-circular shape, and then baked in an oven. Forfar bakers traditionally use shortcrust pastry but similar products on flaky pastry or puff pastry are occasionally found. Traditionally the contents of the bridie are indicated by the ... Read More

  • Burns Supper

    A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and work of the poet Robert Burns. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet's birthday, 25 January, sometimes also known as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night (Burns Nicht), although they may in principle be held at any time of the year. Burns Suppers are held across the world. Burns suppers are most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but occur across the globe wherever there are Burns Clubs, Scottish Societies or expatriate Scots. Burns suppers may... Read More

  • Celtic Connections

    Celtic Connections is a music festival, showcasing a broadly ‘Celtic’ style. The types of music include modern Celtic rock, dance, big bands, choral performances, international folk superstars, and theatre, as well as traditional pipe bands and ceilidhs. The festival started in 1994 in Glasgow and is now held there every January. In terms of participation, the first festival was launched in just one venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, attracting around 35,000 people. In 2008, approximately 120,000 pe... Read More

  • Chinese New Year

    The Chinese community in Scotland, originating from both Mainland China and Hong Kong, numbers just over 10,000 people with the most significant population in Glasgow. Charing Cross and Garnethill are two areas of Glasgow that have become Scotland’s Chinatown. Like other Chinese communities worldwide, the Scottish Chinese have their own New Year celebrations, which have now become a significant feature of the Scottish winter cultural calendar, particularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Organisations such as t... Read More

  • Choosing It

    Below are two examples of traditional playground games in East Renfrewshire: Choosing It When playing a game where one person needs to be 'it' or 'on' a chant or rhyme in combination with pointing is often used to make the selection random and therefore fair. Ingle-angle All players put one foot in the middle, toes touching. The person calling chants: Ingle-angle-silver-spangle-ingle-angle A B C D… and so on through the alphabet. For each word or letter they touch... Read More

  • Clapshot

    Clapshot is a traditional Orkney recipe of tatties (potatoes) and swede (yellow turnip) and may be served with haggis, oatcakes, cold meats or sausages. Clapshot is sometimes called Clapshaw or Orcadian Clapshot. Further afield, clapshot is a traditional accompanyment to haggis.... Read More

  • Clootie / Cloutie Dumplin

    This is a fruit based dumpling cooked in a cloot or clout (cloth). Everyone has their own recipe. See one at http://www.scottishrecipes.co.uk/clootiedumpling.htm and see film of one being made at http://scotland.stv.tv/food-drink/recipes/128262-clootie-dumpling-custard/... Read More

  • Dookin' for Apples

    Dookin' for apples normally takes place in a large bucket of water. Around a dozen apples are allowed to float around the surface and the player tries to pull out an apple using only their mouth. A clever player may try and align their mouth with an apple stalk to remove it from the water otherwise the player has to try and take a bite of the apple whilst removing it from the bucket. If a player takes too long they may find their own head being dooked into the bucket by those waiting for their own turn and ... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival

    The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for various simultaneous arts and cultural festivals which take place during August and early September each year in Edinburgh. These festivals are arranged by a number of formally unrelated organisations, meaning that there is no single event officially termed the Edinburgh Festival. The oldest festivals are the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, both of which started in 1947. Other more recent additions include the Military Tat... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe

    Since it started in 1947, as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, 'The Fringe' has grown to become the world's largest arts festival. The festival covers a wide range of arts, including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre. opera and others. The Fringe runs for approximately three weeks in August.... Read More

  • Egg rolling at Easter

    Method: using boiled eggs, wait until these have cooled down, and then paint. The decorated eggs are then taken to a gentle hill (or other appropriate place) and "rolled". The rolling of the egg symbolises the rolling away of the stone from Jesus' tomb at Easter. Although as a kid and from years of experience with my own children the symbolism is lost as they munch though a mound of chocolate. Our local hill is always littered with eggs and shells and serves as a feast for the local wildlife. Chocolate ... Read More

  • Elastics

    I was speaking to my niece recently, age 8, and she mentioned that she plays elastics with her friends and it brought back a lot of memories. It was one of my favourite games when I was at primary school. You play by tying elastic bands together to make a large loop of elastic. It is a game for three people, although I used to practice a lot in the house using chair legs when there were no other friends around. Two players stand inside the loop so they are stretching it relatively taught around their ankles... Read More

  • First-footing

    A First foot (or 'fit') is the first person to enter your house or cross your threshhold after midnight on 31st December or Hogmanay. Traditionally a dark-haired man (or even a coalman) was thought to bring good luck, but anyone can be your first foot and you can be anyone else's. Again traditionally, when first-footing, you should take a lump of coal (fuel), whisky and Black Bun (sustenance) to the household. ... Read More

  • Fish supper

    The 'Fish Supper' consists of fish (commonly haddock in Scotland) deep fried in batter with chips purchased from a 'Chip shop'. It is traditionally served wrapped first in brown paper, then in newspaper in order that the food should retain its heat on the customer's journey home. This is more than a foodstuff in Scotland - it is truly a tradition. The traditional question from the Chip Shop proprietor to the customer on serving the delicacy: 'Anyhin oan it?' can be met with the reply,'Sauce an salt' i... Read More

  • Fishermen's Ganseys

    Fishermen have been wearing ganseys (Guernseys) since about the start of the 17th Century - the design is said to have been developed in the Isle of Guernsey, just the same way that the term jersey originated from the neighbouring Channel Island of Jersey. Ganseys were knitted in un-oiled, soft, round, dark-blue 4 ply wool on four size 14 needles to make a firm, close fabric that was almost wind and waterproof. They were one-piece garments. A split had to be made at the underarm, the back and the front t... Read More

  • Fishermen's Superstitions - Cockenzie and Port Seton

    While fewer of the younger generation of fishermen adhere to these, some still feel it is bad luck to mention certain birds, fish and animals either on their boats,at home, or at all. In the fishing villages of Cockenzie Port Seton near Edinburgh these include swans, salmon, pigs and rats. Instead, fishermen will refer to a 'red fish' (salmon), a 'curly tail' (pig) and a 'long tail' (rat). One man in Port Seton was overheard asking the shop assistant in the local 'store' for matches and "not the ones wit... Read More

  • Gairloch Pattern Stockings

    This knitted pattern, which was unique to Gairloch, developed in the middle of the 19th century. At the time of the potato famine in the 1840s strenuous eorts were made by the lairds of Gairloch to provide work for the inhabitants. To provide an income for the women, knitting was encouraged using wool from local eeces, home spun and dyed with local plants taking advantage of the skills which many already possessed. To instruct them to a higher standard Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch employed an expert in knit... Read More

  • Ganseys

    The navy blue wool Gansey sweater, along with navy blue trousers was the traditional ‘uniform’ of fisherman in the Cockenzie and Port Seton villages of East Lothian and in many other fishing communities around Britain. There are variations in pattern – families often handing down their own pattern through the generations, mother to daughter - but many featuring traditional motifs such as rope. Wives incorporated in each sweater an element unique to each so that they could identify bodies washed ashore... Read More

  • Golden Spurtle Competition

    The annual World Porridge Making Championships take place in Carrbridge, a small village in the Invernessshire. The competition (organised by the Carrbridge and Vicinity Community Council) in its 17th year will take place on 'World Porridge Day', Sunday 10th October 2010. For more information on the event go to the Golden Spurtle website at http://www.goldenspurtle.com/. Watch an excellent short film of the 2009 Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship (Carrbridge Films) at http://www.youtube.com/c... Read More

  • Grand March

    The Grand March is still occasionally performed - to the accompaniment of bagpipes or (in places such as Shetland and Orkne)a band - as the first 'dance' at a Scottish wedding. Strictly, more of a march than a dance it is led by the bride and groom followed by the maid of honour (chief bridesmaid) and best man then both sets of parents followed by the wedding guests. Variations may continue elsewhere in Scotland ... Read More

  • Greenock Philosophical Society

    The Greenock Philosophical Society has held an annual series of lectures on cultural and scientific subjects since it was instituted in 1861. Since 1876 these lectures have been held each autumn and winter in the Watt Hall of the McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Since its inception many famous cultural and scientific figures have lectured before the Society such as Lord Kelvin, Professor Joule and Oscar Wilde. The lectures are open to members of the Society and to members of the public for a small f... Read More

  • Haggis

    A traditional food of Scotland eaten across the country made from meat offal, herbs and spices contained within a natural or artificial skin that is ball-shaped; can also be made as a vegetarian variety. Haggis features in the ICH of the traditional New Year ceremonies and Burns Night. Haggis is exclusively a Scottish traditional food not associated with any other country.... Read More

  • Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

    Haggis is a tradtional Scottish dish containing sheep's offal (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours (although nowadays haggis tends to be simmered in a casing rather than the stomach). It is often considered to be the national dish of Scotland, and is memorialised in Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis. Originally a modest dish ensuring no part of the sheep goes to... Read More

  • Hallow'een

    allowe'en (Halloween ), celebrated on October 31 derives from the Celtic festival Samhuinn. Children go around peoples' houses (traditionally in costumes or fancy dress), asking for sweets or money although some still (voluntarily or otherwise) perform a song, dance or tell a joke in order to deserve the householder's contribution. Money used to be saved towards buying fireworks for another celebration on 5th November, Guy Fawkes Night. American influence and marketing in recent years has seen this incre... Read More

  • Hen Nights

    Females about to be married are sometimes dressed up by their female work colleagues in a Bridal veil, balloons, flowers, streamers and "L" plates, and traditionally made to carry a chamber pot full of salt (sometimes with little dolls and other tokens stuck in) paraded through the streets to invite kisses from male passers-by (traditionally for a donation of money into the ‘potty’). This is still done, but has more commonly turned into a night-out for the prospective bride, her female friends and relat... Read More

  • Herring Queen Festival

    Eyemouth’s local Herring Queen Festival takes place in July every year. Started ‘to celebrate the end of the First World War’ it also ‘aims to symbolise the ideals as well as the everyday things associated with the life of a fishing community’ and developed out of the older Peace or Fisherman's ‘Picnic', an annual celebration which ‘came to be looked upon as a local holiday for the fishermen of the town and all connected with their calling. The Festival in modern times focuses around local chi... Read More

  • Inverclyde Music Festival

    The Inverclyde Music Festival is one of the oldest music festivals in Scotland. The first Festival was held in Greenock Town Hall over 95 years ago, on the 25th and 26th April, 1914. Every subsequent Festival links since then has been held at the same venue. The Festival has always had strong connections with the local community and with local musical groups and traditions and this has been reflected in the sources of many of the prizes and trophies awarded at the Festival. This connection was evident at th... Read More

  • Islay Pipe Band

    The Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides has a long tradition of pipe music. For almost two decades, the Islay Piping Society has been a significant feature of this longstanding musical heritage. Although history shows the formation of a pipe band in the early 1950’s, it wasn’t until 1992 that islanders decided to start the current Islay Pipe Band, which was then formed and registered with the Royal Pipe Band Association in Glasgow. The band - which holds regular weekly practices- plays at numerous local... Read More

  • Knitting Groups

    Knitting groups have seen something of a revival in the last few years. They have been around for a long time, previously being known as "knitting bees" and would often have met in the home of one of the group members. These days knitting groups meet in all kinds of venues from museums to bars to cafes to people's houses. The purpose of the group is for members to learn knitting techniques from other members, to show patterns, to show new yarn and items in progress, adn of course to socialise. Knitters come... Read More

  • New Year Calendar Tradition

    In my home at New Year I never turn a calendar to show January until after midnight. I was taught from my Glasgow grandparents that it was bad luck to show the face of the calendar before the new year. Our tradition was to take down the old calendar on New Year's Eve and replace it with a new calendar, but to show the back blank page. When it was past midnight as a child I was allowed to turn all the calendars in the house around. I still carry this practise on today. In addition my family always thought it... Read More

  • Paisley Natural History Society

    The Paisley Naturalists' Society was formed on 22nd March 1892. One of the first tasks of the society was to make an application to the Paisley Museum Committee for a use of a room in the museum in which to hold their meetings - a meeting place that the present Paisley Museum Natural History Society still uses today. The first paper was read at the meeting of ther 26th April 1892 'Economic Uses of Entomology, as applied to Agriculture, Horticulture, etc' by Mr John Dunsmore, local entomologist. During... Read More

  • Paisley Philosophical Institution

    Founded on the 13th October, 1808, Paisley Philosophical Institution has included many educated and professional people of the Paisley area, including doctors, ministers, lawyers and businessmen. Their aim was to continue to educate themselves, and other people of the town, by lectures, the collection of scientific books and by forming a museum collection. Their first lectures covered scientific subjects such as botany, anatomy and physiology and electricity. Over time the range of lecture subjects became m... Read More

  • Papa Stour Sword Dance

    Papa Stour, Shetland, is famous for the Papa Stour Sword Dance, which portrays the seven saints of Christendom, the finale of which is a shield of interlocking swords. This dance was popular in the Middle Ages, known throughout Europe in different forms and described in Brugge The latest performance of the dance on the island was on the occasion of the official opening of the Stofa by the County Mayor of Hordaland, Norway, in August 2008. ... Read More

  • Scots Fiddle Festival

    The festival, which takes place over a November weekend (Friday to Sunday) in the Assembly Roooms, Edinburgh, is run by the Scots Fiddle Festival Ltd, with the aim of promoting and sustaining traditional fiddle music. It features a variety of concerts, recitals and workshops. ... Read More

  • Scottish High Tea

    Normally served between 3-7pm, which is available in some hotels in Scotland. The meal offered varies from location to location. Usually it consists of toast/bread/rolls served with each course, soup or similar starter, main meal (fish or steak pie is common), a choice of puddings and then a huge plate of biscuits, cakes and fancies served on a cake stand. Tea is served throughout the meal. ... Read More

  • Shetland Knitting

    The Shetland Island council has for years (decades) promoted and taught traditional knitting of the Fair Isle to the primary school(24) pupils of Shetland. This activity has recently become fragile due to the Shetland Island Council deciding to cut the the budget that allows for 14 knitting teacher to pass on the traditional skills and patterns. Knitting has been a main part of the arts and crafts economy of Shetland dating back to the introduction of sheep on the island in the 9th century by Norse settlers... Read More

  • Stag Nights

    These have generally deteriorated into simply a night-out to mark the husband-to-be's 'last night of freedom' as a single man. Those taking part are the prospective groom, his male friends and male relations. It can still often involve dressing up (often of everyone concerned - see understated T-shirt approach in photograph above) when traditionally only the groom was humiliated on the night through Blackening. Stag nights can now stretch to entire weekends away or short trips abroad.... Read More

  • The Shetland Yoal

    The Yoal, often referred to as the Ness Yoal, is a small sailing craft (clinker built) used traditionally in the Shetland Islands. It is designed primarily for rowing, but which also handles well under her traditional square sail when running before the wind or on a broad reach. Until about 1860 yoals were imported from Norway, from Hordaland, the area around Bergen, in kit form, and local boat builders followed to Shetland to put them together, but increasing customs duty meant that local builders took ... Read More

  • The West End Callans Association

    The West End Callans Association was founded in the late 1860s as a charitable association whose purpose was “....to make life a little easier for the deserving poor, particularly the old and helpless”. Assistance could be in the form of gifts of coal, goods, sums of money, or any other form determined by the Committee of Management. Only those who had been born in the West End of Paisley or who had lived there for more than twenty years qualified for assistance. The geographical area covered by the ... Read More

  • Tig

    Tig is a tradtional children's game in which one player touches another, then runs off to be pursued and touched in turn. Basics: One player is ‘it’ (sometimes pronounced ‘het’) and they must touch another player (tig them). When It tigs another player the person who has been tug is now It and must tig someone. You usually need to call out 'tig' when you tig somebody. Extra rules: • Designated places are den. When you are in or touching Den you cannot be tigged. Den could be a wall, all walls, ... Read More

  • Touch Wood

    For years I have carried a piece of wood around on my key ring. I use it along with the saying 'touch wood that ... does not happen to me'. I use it for luck and to ward off bad luck. I have no idea why I do it and I think I must have just picked it up from my parents. I have noticed others searching for wood to touch when they have said the saying and tapping their head as ifmade of wood as a joke and as an alternative to the real thing.... Read More

  • Tradfest

    Each year Edinburgh is home to Tradfest TradFest celebrates Scotland’s May festivals – Beltane and Mayday – which traditionally mark the beginning of summer, bringing energy and colour to the capital city as the greening of the year breaks out. Venues include Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, The Pleasance, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Filmhouse, Queens Hall, Summerhall, George Square Theatre and Dance Base. The TradFest Trail highlights craft shops, galleries, pub sessions, instrument makers, book... Read More

  • Up Helly Aa

    The enduring influence of the Vikings, who arrived in Shetland just over 1000 years ago, is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January every year by fire festivals across Shetland. The events are annual and now take place in mid-Winter, having in some cases evolved from end of year festivities. The centrepiece of these events is a torch-lit procession, culminating in the torching of a replica Viking longship. Lerwick ‘Up Helly Aa’: this is the largest fire festival in Europe. However, this is not the onl... Read More

  • Wallace Day

    The life of William Wallace is commemorated every year in August on the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of his death. The day starts with a march from Johnstone to the site of his birth in Elderslie beside the monument. A wreath is laid at the monument and there are speeches celebrating his life. The day ends with a ceilidh in the village hall. Sir William Wallace was born around 1270. He rose to prominence in the late thirteenth century as a leader in Scotland’s first war of independence with Edwa... Read More

  • Wedding Shower

    Wedding Shower or 'Showing of Presents: one night during the week/s immediately before a wedding the bride and her mother host a party for female friends and relations invited to the wedding. Guests bring wedding presents/gifts to the mother’s house where they are opened by the bride and put on show by mother and daughter along with cards saying whom each gift is from. ... Read More

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