Beliefs

  • 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

  • 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

  • Scotland's Year of Stories 2022 Project: Solidarity for All - Africa Delice

    This community cooking session took place in Glasgow. The aim was to teach the community how to cook dishes from different African Cultures and to hold a celebration event involving the wider community. Mireille Njike: "The aim of the event is for refugees to have a forum through which they can meet new faces and share the struggles they have encountered from leaving their countries to the difficulties here in Glasgow. We offer an avenue for people to know they are not alone and through some stories ... Read More

  • Scotland's Year of Stories 2022 Project: Telling Old Stories and Singing Songs, Journey to the Isles: Marjory Kennedy Fraser plus The Loves of Mary Queen of Scots

    Programme strand in the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival March 2022. The strand included a new commission for Marion Kenny: one of Scotland’s leading storytellers, and award-winning musician, singer and songwriter: Mairi Campbell, to respond to two films in the National Library of Scotland (NLS) Moving Image Archive featuring Marjory Kennedy Fraser (1857 – 1930). Fraser was one of the foremost folksong collectors and composers in Scotland. She visited many of the islands to the west of Scotland, recordi... Read More

  • Scotland's Year of Stories Project: George Mackay Brown Trail in Stromness

    If ever there was a writer that is associated with a particular place, it is George Mackay Brown. He was born in Stromness and lived here all his life, seldom leaving the town he loved so much and which shaped his work. His subject was Orkney, its people, legends and history. Seen as one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century and influential well beyond the bounds of Orkney, he was renowned for his ‘astonishing clarity and sureness of imagery.’ Two events in April 2022, organised by the ... Read More

  • Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 Project: Crossing the Ken

    Families of Glenkens turned out on a glorious sunny day to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories and the bicentenary of the iconic Ken Bridge. 150 people joined a parade which carried puppet dragons, birds and airplanes to under the Ken Bridge. Local story teller Anne Errington told tales of ancient Scottish folklore mixed with stories from New Galloway. Under the beautiful arches of the Ken Bridge, families picnicked next to Mark Zygadlo’s Water Organ. A fantastical contraption based on an 18 ft ... Read More

  • Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 Project: The Disappeared Village

    Held in collaboration with Moray Libraries, this exhibition and series of events took place between February and March 2022 at Elgin Library. The exhibition focused on a village on the South shore of the Moray Firth which was destroyed and abandoned as a result of the Great Sand Drift of 1694. While there are scientific and natural explanations for the disappearance of the village, stories of myth and legend about the people, land and events that unfolded have shrouded Culbin in mystery. This exhibition ... 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

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