Nature and The Universe

  • Clootie / Cloutie Wells

    ‘Cloutie’ or ‘Clootie’ wells are the name given to wells/springs, usually with a tree growing in close proximity, where strips of cloth and rags are left as part of a traditional healing ritual. They have been described as ‘… a survival of the age-old veneration of life-giving springs. Those suffering from illness hung a rag by the spring in the hope that their disease would decay along with the rag.’ ( www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lochness/Ormondcastle.shtml ) There are several of these still i... Read More

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  • 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

  • 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

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  • May Day Face Washing, Arthur's Seat

    Some people still get up early enough on May Day (1st of May) to climb Arthur's Seat - the extinct volcano at the centre of Hoyrood Park, Edinburgh - to wash their faces in the morning dew as the sun rises. It was believed that this would bring females eternal beauty.... Read More

  • Rowan Trees

    The tradition of planting a Rowan tree in a garden is still followed by some. The Rowan was believed to afford the house and its inhabitants protection from witches. Consequently, it is considered very bad luck to cut down a Rowan tree! The manifold uses of the rowan tree included it being grown for suitable timber for tool handles. It was known for its strength and density, which is advantageous when it comes to making handles for spades, cas-chrom, spinning wheels and walking sticks. Hugh Cheape descri... 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

  • Weather Predictions

    Traditional Scots language sayings relating to the weather: If the deer lies doon on Martinmas Day Oo'll hae six weeks o rain. ... Read More

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