Year Round

  • 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

  • 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

  • Cock a Leekie Soup

    Cock a Leekie Soup is a soup, traditionally served in the winter, made with leeks and chicken stock. It is frequently served as a starter at Scottish events such as Burns Night, St Andrews Night and at Hogmanay. As www.scottishrecipes.co.uk explains, the soup dates back to the 16th century when a fowl would be boiled with vegetables such as leeks to provide a filling broth and this is why Cock a Leekie soup is so named. A traditional Scottish Cock a Leekie soup recipe includes prunes though some cooks will ... Read More

  • Cranachan

    Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert. It is usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey, and fresh raspberries topped with toasted oatmeal. It is sometimes called Atholl Brose (which is more properly a drink using similar ingredients) and Cream Crowdie. A traditional way to serve the dessert is to bring dishes of each ingredient to the table, so that each person can assemble their dessert to taste. Tall dessert glasses are also of typical presentation. It was originally a summer dish... Read More

  • Dragon Boat Racing

    Four boats raced at part of series of events, organised as part of China Now in Scotland, which raised funds to support the Tayside Chinese Community Centre and Dundee Chinese school. There are many Dragon boat races that take place throughout Scotland. On May 30th 2010, Consul General Tan Xiutian attended the Dragon Boat Race at the invitation of Dumfries and Galloway's Provost, Jack Groom. The event was organised by the city Council and Rotary Club with strong support from the local Chinese Community. (so... 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

  • Fair Isle Knitting Patterns

    Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. Traditional Fair Isle patterns are limited to five or so colours, using only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.... Read More

  • Finnechty Cup

    "Finnechty cup" is an expression that comes from the area on the Moray Coast in the North East of Scotland surrounding the village of Findochty, "Finnechty" being the local pronounciation of Findochty. Apparently, it was the perception of the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages that the folk in Findochty were rather ungenerous when pouring out a cup of tea! Hence the saying came into being and any cup of tea anywhere which was not deemed to be full enough was referred to as a fine "Finnechty cup". I... 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

  • Fishing Superstitions

    Perhaps because of the hazards of their occupation or their mutual reliance, fishing communities developed their own unique customs and folklore. They were tight-knit and conservative and their names, food and mode of life were different from the surrounding population. Even between different fishing villages there was often rivalry and it was rare for them to marry outwith their own community. Because of the dangerous nature of their work, they were unusually superstitious. Thus there were words conside... 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

  • 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

  • Glen Cinema Memorial

    GLEN CINEMA PRIOR DEMOLITION c 1930 The cinema (opened in 1901), known as 'The Glen' and 'The Royal Animated Pictures' once formed part of the Good Templar Halls (now occupied by Burton's shop). On the afternoon of 31 December 1929, during a children's matinee, a freshly shown film put in its metal box in the spool room began to issue thick black smoke. Soon the smoke filled the auditorium containing about one thousand children. Panic set in. Children ran downstairs so fast and in such numbers, that t... 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

  • Granny Kempock Stone

    The megalithic Kempock Stone, popularly known as Granny Kempock (perhaps because of its resemblance to an old woman), stands on a cliff behind Kempock Street, the main shopping street in Gourock, Scotland. The stone, or menhir, is grey mica schist and of indeterminate origin, but it has been suggested that it is an old altar to the pagan god Baal, or a memorial to an ancient battle. Supposedly there is a superstition that for sailors going on a long voyage or a couple about to be married, walking seven time... Read More

  • Greenock Burns Club

    The Greenock Burns Club or as it is affectionately known ‘The Mother Club’ was the first organisation to be devoted to the memory of the poet and the promotion of his works. The club had its origins in the members of Greenock Ayrshire Society who held a preliminary meeting in the summer of 1801 and the club was formally founded next year at a Burns’ Anniversary dinner on 29th January 1802. The objects of the Club are to cherish the name of Robert Burns, to foster a love of his writings and generally... 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 Pakora

    Pakora is a foodstuff of South Asian origin [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakora] Made by binding several ingredients together (onion, potato and other vegetables), coating them in batter then deep-frying them, it is easy to understand why pakora has become popular in Scotland. In addition to chicken pakora, the fusion of Asian and Scots’ cultures has seen the introduction of a haggis variety. ... Read More

  • Hansel

    A silver coin (nowadays probably a One or Two Pound coin) is placed by well-wishers into the pram or under the pillow of a new baby when they meet him or her for the first time. This is to bring luck (and fortune?) to the baby and perhaps to the giver.... Read More

  • Heart of Midlothian

    The Heart of Midlothian is a stone mosaic built into the cobbled street outside of St Giles near George IV Bridge marks the spot where the old Tolbooth, or town prison used to stand. Some local people continue the tradition of spitting on the Heart when walking past for good luck. See video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32H9WORvpj0 ... 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

  • 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

  • Mehndi (Hindi: मेहँदी, Urdu: مہندی)

    ‘Mehndi (Hindi: मेहँदी, Urdu: مہندی) is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in India and Pakistan’[see source below]and by women from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities living in Scotland. Traditionally used for brides, it is still applied for weddings and also for other special occasions (mainly on the palms of the hands but also to the feet). It is a temporary decoration which sits on the surface of the skin, not a tattoo. After application by... 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

  • Moffat Toffee

    Moffat Toffee is not toffee, but a boiled sweet made in the Scottish town of Moffat.The confectionery is notable for its lemon centre which gives the sweet its unusual flavour. The shop also has its own unique type of tartan which is black and white in colour. It is the largest confectionery shop in Moffat and has a wide range from well known brands to homemade sweets made in the factory that is located in the town.... 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

  • Paisley Burns Club

    Paisley Burns Club was founded on January 29, 1805, and claims to be the oldest formally constituted Burns Club in the world. Formed by a group of enthusiastic Paisley men, mainly weavers and including Robert Tannahill, the Paisley poet, its primary purpose was to celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns and cherish his memory in other ways. The club’s membership, traditionally all male, following Burns’ Bachelor Club format, has included many influential and notable local men as members and honorary m... Read More

  • Paisley Hammermen Society

    In 1658, Paisley Town Council first granted a charter making it possible for the trades people of Paisley to form societies. The purpose of these societies was to protect their trade and exclude strangers from carrying on the trade within the town’s boundaries. The Paisley Hammermen Society was established in 1761. Its membership was open to various tradesmen employed in a wide range of trades including ironmongers, saddlers, engravers, shoemakers and watchmakers. Membership also appears to have extend... 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

  • Police Pipe bands

    The tradition of Police Pipe bands extends beyond Scotland and across the world (particularly North America). As well as being called upon to play in public marches, processions and festivals (see Northern Constabulary photograph above), bands compete in Pipe Band Championships. They range in age from some relatively recently formed to those such as Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band which goes back to1882... 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

  • Rumbledethumps

    Rumbledethumps is a dish that originated in the Borders area of Scotland, the main ingredients of whch are cabbage, potatoes and onions. The name of the dish itself apparently comes from the noise made in the kitchen as the potatoes and cabbage are rumbled and thumped in the preparation. It can be served as a main dish or as an accompaniment to something else. ... Read More

  • Scotch Collops

    Scotch Collops are a traditional Scottish dish; the term 'collops' means 'thin slices of meat', and is derived from the French 'escalope'. The dish can be created using either thin slices or minced meat of either beef, lamb or venison. To prepare the dish, the meat slices are combined with onion, salt, pepper, and suet, then stewed, baked or roasted with optional flavourings according to the meat used. It is traditionally served garnished with thin toast and mashed potato.... Read More

  • Scottish High Tea

    The illustration provided is of a classic AFTERNOON TEA. A Scottish HIGH TEA would be something like poached eggs, fishcakes, or Welsh Rarebit, followed by scones, pancakes, fancy cakes if you were being a bit "society" and pot after pot of tea. It would not include sandwiches - the protein would have been provided by the hot something, whatever it was, and the starch by the scones and pancakes. ... 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

  • Scottish Wedding

    The Scottish Wedding Reception Most Scottish weddings take place in mid to late afternoon and are then followed by a formal reception or party with a wedding meal. At the wedding meal toasts are made to the bride (by the Groom) and to the bridesmaids (by the 'Best Man' - the Groom's best friend and assistant). Speeches are usually made by the Bride's father and, occasionally nowadays, by the bride. Later in the evening the wedding dance begins, led by the bride and groom who are then joined in the 'first... 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

  • Shetland dialect

    The Shetland dialect is essentially a branch of Scots, because the islands have now been part of Scotland for over five hundred years. But, because of the previous five hundred years or so, when Shetland was Scandinavian, the old ‘Norn’ tongue, which had died out by about 1800, is obvious still in place names, vocabulary, expressions and pronunciation. And of course, English is part of the mix too. Features of the dialect: Some Shetland vowel sounds are common in Scandinavia, the most obvious bei... 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

  • 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

  • Tattie scone

    Tattie (Tatty) scones or potato scone are usually served as part of a Scottish breakfast. There are many Scottish recipes for Tattie Scones a couple of links provided. A typical Tattie scone is made with mashed potato, plain flour, butter and salt. The flour is added to make it into a dough. Some recipes include egg. The dough is rolled out to about 5mm and put on a griddle to cook or baked in a hot oven. They are traditionally made as circles of about 90 mm in radius and then cut into quarters. They are... Read More

  • The Meadows Mummers; tradition with a difference.

    Among the practitioners in this field are The Meadows Mummers. This Edinburgh-based all-female group have taken the traditional folk drama “Galoshins” (in all its various spellings) and updated it with a modernised and expanded script, written in rhyming couplets, while still respecting its traditional form and Commedia dell'Arte roots. It was associated with Hogmanay, but the Mummers largely perform at community festivals in the summer, so performances are open-air. Through collaborations with the... Read More

Connect With Us