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  • Glasgow's Travelling Showpeople Community

    " Travelling Showpeople opened Glasgow's first cinemas, operated the rides and stalls at the annual Kelvin Hall Winter Fair and Glasgow Green. As the winter base for over 80% of Scottish show families, Glasgow has the largest concentration of Showpeople in Europe. Yet the unique traditions and histories of this tight-knit community are still unknown to most of the Scottish public." The quote above was taken from a publication that was produced as part of the Fair Glasgow project. This project was initia... Read More

  • Hogmanay

    Hogmanay is the Scots name for New Year's eve. The tradition of seeing out the old year and welcoming in the new has, in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, been adopted and transformed in recent decades to the point that 'Hogmanay' is now often associated with these huge public type of 'events' with firework displays. However many older non-commercial public events take place around Scotland e.g. the Stonehaven Fireball Festival or Comrie Flambeaux. Prior to the recent 'Edinburgh's Hogmany' festiva... Read More

  • Kirkwall Ba' Game

    One of a small number of such games still existing in Scotland, the Kirkwall ba' game takes place twice a year: Christmas Eve and Hogmanay. Its historical origins are unclear, but, in essence, it is a game of mass-football, played up and down the streets of the town centre, of the type that was once quite common in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. It pits the 'uppies' against the 'doonies' (or 'up the gates' against 'down the gates'). The ba' itself is a hand-made, cork-filled leather ball. The allegieanc... 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

  • Masons' Walk at Rosehearty

    Natives of Rosehearty are drawn back to the town for this annual march, doubling its population for the day. 100 to 150 Masons take part, mostly from the local Masonic 'Lodge' but with representatives from other Lodges. The 'Walk' starts from the Lodge and progresses along the route through the town's streets arranged in order of: the March 'Marshall' and Director of Ceremonies followed by the bible bearer with sword bearers, the Pipe Band,junior and senior Deacons, ordinary Lodge members then Lodge Office-... Read More

  • MILLER'S SHOWPEOPLE HISTORY

    Miller's Family had started doing their Fairgrounds since 19th Century, the man named Christopher Miller were originally came from Horley near Gatwick at Surrey, he began to travel with the Circus around the Country including Belfast, Northern Ireland, on arrival he had a good company of artistics and staff and over 30 Horses and over £300 in hard cash. One night some very valuable horses were poisoned and this threw Christopher into grave financial difficulties and other horses died from want of prope... Read More

  • Neilston Cattle Show

    The Neilston Cattle Show takes place annually on the 1st Saturday in May and brings together the entire community of this East Renfrewshire village. The first show took place in 1825 and its origins are in the cattle fairs which took place in the village several times a year. However, there are also two recorded explanations for it. The first is that two local farmers were having a dispute over who had the best prize bull. This turned into a contest to be judged by other local farmers and this in turn be... Read More

  • New Year - coastal/sea

    In coastal areas, both boats in harbour and tankers offshore sound their horns at midnight to mark the start of the New Year on 31st December. This is also marked by the ringing of church bells (such as those of the Tron Kirk in Edinburgh's High Street or Royal Mile) onland. ... Read More

  • Orkney Yole

    The Orkney Yole is a small boat, possibly of Nordic ancestry built, primarily, for cargo-carrying duties. According to the Orkney Yole Association website, the yole may vary in length from about 13' to 22', but is more generally about 18' long by 7' or 8' of beam and draws about 2'. Variations occur according to the builder but there are two main categories - the North Isles Yole and the South Isles Yole. While the yole was once a central part of the economic life of Orkney, this has- perhaps inevitably- be... Read More

  • Poor-oot

    The ‘poor-oot’ (pour out) or ‘scramble’ is a tradition related to weddings. As newlyweds drive off from the church after their wedding ceremony the groom (or new husband) throws handfuls of coins out of the car window. Children then ‘scramble’ in the street to grab the scattered money. Presumably this originally symbolised the new husband sharing his ‘good fortune’ and demonstrating his happiness. The practice has different names in different parts of the country. The term ‘Poor-oot’ is ... Read More

  • Pop Day

    At Hallow'een the children of the town of Stromness in Orkney carve turnips into amusing or grotesque heads and paint them in bright colours. They are solid, unlike the more common ‘neepie lanterns’. The children then go around the houses saying ‘A penny tae burn me Pop’ and receive small amounts of money. The origin of this goes back to the Reformation when it was the Pope who was being burnt in effigy, but it has changed over the years to become the innocent sounding ‘Pop’ with no sectarian... Read More

  • Scramble

    The‘scramble’ or ‘poor-oot’ (pour out) is a tradition related to weddings. As newlyweds drive off from the church after their wedding ceremony the groom (or husband) throws handfuls of coins out of the car window. Children then ‘scramble’ in the street to grab the scattered money. Presumably this originally symbolised the new husband sharing his ‘good fortune’ and demonstrating his happiness? There may be similar traditions or different names for this custom in different parts of the country... Read More

  • Sprawl

    'The Sprawl' is a wedding ritual where a Bride's father tosses coins for the bairns to pick up off the street or pavement as the car leaves the bride's home for the Kirk where she is about to be married. ... Read More

  • St Ayles Skiff

    The 'St Ayles Skiffs' is a design commissioned by the Museum from renowned boat designer Ian Oughtred and are made from a plywood kit. It was inspired by the traditional Fair Isle Skiff. These reasonably priced kits can be purchased from Jordan Boats, partners in the project, with the Museum earning a royalty from each kit sold. Each skiff requires a team of four rowers and one coxswain to complete a full crew with each rower taking one oar. The 'Chris o' Kanaird' was the prototype boat built by Jordan B... Read More

  • Stone Skimming Championships, Easdale

    The World Stone Skimming Championships were started in 1983 by Albert Baker, and then lay fallow until they were resurrected in 1997 by the Eilean Eisdeal (The Easdale Island Community Development Group) as a fundraising event. Easdale Island is the smallest permanently inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides. It was once the centre of a thriving Scottish slate mining industry, and one of the disused quarries forms a perfect arena for the World Stone Skimming Championships. The championships are held ever... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Wedding-Horseshoes

    It is traditional for the newly married bride and groom to be presented with a horseshoe, directly after they have exited the wedding venue, as a symbol of good luck. In some families the tradition is for the horseshoe to be presented by the youngest wedding guest. The horseshoe given now is usually a symbolic horseshoe made from plastic, cardboard or similar light weight material, rather than an iron horseshoe made by a blacksmith. ... Read More

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