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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • The Loch Ness

    The Loch Ness is a deep, large and freshwater loch situated on the Scottish Highlands, extending for approximatively 37 miles. It's connected to the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian canal to Loch Oich. It became widely known for the alleged sightings of the Loch Ness monster, when it was first brought up in 1933. Its the second largest Scottish loch after Loch Morar.... 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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