Was Christmas banned in Scotland?
The short answer is yes! Thanks to the Protestant reformation, Christmas was considered a “popeish” celebration and too closely aligned with the Catholic church. Christmas was instead made a working day, and people were encouraged to spend in the day in thoughtful prayer and contemplation. However, winter in Scotland is dark and cold, and that meant that a lot of work couldn't be done. For example, fishermen and farmers had nothing to do because it gets dark so early!
Hogmanay, the word for New Year’s Eve, was seen as an acceptable thing to celebrate by the Kirk (Church of Scotland) as it was about fresh starts and new beginnings, so it became the main winter festival in the country. A lot of traditions are associated with Hogmanay. They include:
First footing is also a big deal! First footing is going to visit your neighbours after midnight To bring good luck, a first footer should be a tall dark (and handsome) stranger carrying coal, salt, a black bun, a dram and shortbread
In villages people used to dress up in the hides of cattle and run around the village whilst being hit by sticks. And we traditionally eat a steak pie on New Year’s Day.
Hogmanay is such a big deal in Scotland that we have the first AND second of January off! Watch our video to find out more about how we celebrate.
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We did a fantastic Scottish History class on the history of Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland which is available to all of our Online Unlimited students. You can join our Scottish History, Vocabulary Building, Lunchtime Lessons and Book Group classes as well as have access to all of our self study and skills resources for only £50 a month! We also offer a one week trial FOR FREE!
Vocabulary from the video
Here are some more examples and definitions of the vocabulary we looked at in the video
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay!
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