Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In my country the days we celebrate are... Scotland

Robert Burns, our national poet

Many of days we celebrate are the same as the rest of the UK (Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes night) and, like many countries, we celebrate Christmas and Easter. So here is a quick summary of Scottish festivals.

Burns Night is on 25th January and is the anniversary of the birth of our national poet Robert Burns. Traditionally people attend Burns suppers where they eat haggis, neeps and tatties - our national dish. Neeps are turnips and tatties potatoes. Several of Burns' more famous poems are recited and speeches are made in his memory. Depending on the audience these can be high brow literary events or just a bit of light hearted fun.

St Andrew’s Night is 30th November. He is our patron saint. This is a fairly low key event. Since the Scottish parliament was established there has been debate recently about making it a public holiday but because it falls at a dark, wet time of year people would rather have public holidays in the summer.

Hogmannay is the Scottish term for New Year’s Eve. It used to be a big celebration but not so much now. There is more emphasis on Christmas. When I was a child I remember my parents having big parties in the house. My dad would play his accordian and people would sing Scottish songs. Traditionally people “first foot” one another. The first person across the doorstep after midnight is supposed to be tall and dark and carry a piece of coal. Not many people carry coal these days but still take some sort of present like a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. It’s considered bad luck to be your own first foot. The main cities have firework displays at midnight and Edinburgh has a concert in the grounds of the castle.

I'll let Clare explain Hallowe'en and Guy Fawkes night.


Blogger Rebelde said...

No wonder why is it so hard for me to understand a Scottish person talking, you have a different name for New Year's Eve!
But it still sounds like fun, specially the bring-me-some-wine part :D

6:26 PM  

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