• 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

  • Black House Renovation

    The 'Black House' is a style of house that used to be common in certain parts of Scotland, particularly in the Hebrides and parts of the Highlands (and also in Ireland). Their construction is characterised by double wall dry-stone walls packed with earth and wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. Perhaps inevitably, most dwellings fell into disrepair as people moved into more modern housing. However, recent years has seen a trend towards restoration of many of the original h... Read More

  • Blackening

    This is a ritual usually perpetrated upon a soon to be married man before his wedding, but in some places (see above example from Kirkwall in Orkney) carried out by and on females! Workmates and friends organise and carry these out. More widely this involves the soon-to-be-married man being caught, stripped of much of his clothing (at least to the waist) and tied up. He is then 'blackened' (traditionally with tar, soot or sometimes treacle) then covered also with flour and/or (traditionally) feathers. He is... Read More

  • Bonspiel

    A bonspiel is a curling tournament (curling: two teams of four players compete by ‘throwing’ two granite curling stones each). It is traditionally held on a frozen loch (lake) and can last 2 or 3 days over a weekend. As a result of milder winters and the requirement that the ice should be at least 7 inches thick for safety reasons, these outdoor games now rarely take place. The word may be a combination of both Scots and Gaelic - ‘spiel’ is northern European (to which Scots is related) for ‘play... Read More

  • Bridal traditions - Scottish

    Sixpence in the Bride's Shoe A sixpence (silver coin) placed in a bride's shoe is believed to bring her good luck. Possibly related to the last line (less well known than the rest) of:

    Something old, something new Something borrowed, something blue And a silver sixpence in her shoe
    Each of the above is believed to bring good luck and a happy marriage. "Something old" for continuity with the past and with her family; . "Something new" to bring hope for... 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

  • Burning of the Clavie

    A pagan fire festival called the burning of the clavie is held on 11 January each year, except when the 11th is a Sunday, in which case it takes place on the 10th. The event starts when the Clavie is lit on Granary street at 18:00 and normally ends by 19:30. The tradtion, dating back to at least the 17th century, occurs on this date because, following the adoption of the gregorian calendar,the 'Auld Yuil' [al il] (Old Yule) was therefore celebrated 12 days after the 1 January and the clavie burning was on t... 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

  • 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

  • David Macbeth Moir wreath laying ceremony

    A wreath laying ceremony is undertaken annually by The Old Musselburgh Club to mark the birth of Musselburgh man, David Macbeth Moir. This takes place on the Sunday nearest to the actual date of 5th January. Members of the Club attend a religious service in each of the Musselburgh churches in a yearly rotation after which they gather at the statue where a tribute is read by their President. Poet and physician, David Macbeth Moir, was born at Musselburgh in 1798. Moir, hailed locally as a genius, starte... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Jedburgh Ba' Game

    The ba' game is essentially a form of street football, some of the action taking place in the streets around the market place shown in the picture above. Today the game is played at Candlemas and Easter E'en by two opposing teams. The ancient ball game known as 'Jethart Hand-ba', popular throughout medieval Scotland, supposedly derives from the Jedburgh men playing with the heads of English soldiers. The traditional ball game, which has been played in the Border town for 250 years, pits the Uppies (resident... 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

  • St Andrews University - Pier Walk

    On Sundays during term time when the Chapel Service ends at around 12 noon, students wearing their gowns - mainly but not exclusively red flannel undergraduate gowns with velvet yokes - process along North Street to the pier (near the harbour) led by the members of the University Chapel Choir. They walk along the lower part of the pier to the end and, if they are brave, return along the high part. ... Read More

  • Temperance Flute Walk

    'The Walk' - 3 days of temperance walks - is held every year at the Buchan Rathen coastal villages of St Combs, Inverallochy and Cairnbulg in the North East of Scotland. Local walkers, led by flute players and people playing drums and triangles, have been carrying out this tradition for 160 years. The first couple to walk behind the flute band is the oldest man of the village with a female partner, followed by other walkers. Once one village has been ‘walked’ walked round the walkers get on buses and wa... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Wedding Cogs

    Wooden wedding cogs are vessels from which ale is consumed at Orcadian weddings. These cogs have long been a prominent feature of island weddings, and remain a prominent feature today. The exact mixture which now goes into the cog varies with every wedding, as each family tends to have its own views on the correct recipe. Despite the family variations, the base ingredients of this potent alcoholic mixture are usually hot ale, gin, brandy and whisky mixed with sugar and pepper. Traditionally, there were best... 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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