We love all things Christmas, especially a good festive fact, so much so that – like Santa – we’ve made a list of some of the weirdest and most wonderful things we’ve discovered about Christmas in Scotland in the olden days. So, grab a mince pie (or three) and prepare to be amazed by Macb’s fabulous festive facts – we promise there are some real Christmas crackers here!
This might sound daft…
…But the Christmas holidays in Scotland used to be called The Daft Days and lasted from Christmas Day until 6 January. We think it’s catchier name than the “twelve days of Christmas” but might make the song about French hens and leaping lords a bit trickier to sing. Our only worry is that with twelve days off for Christmas we’d get bored of mince pies before Hogmanay.
‘Tis the season to be jolly – unless you were in Scotland in 1640, when a law was passed making celebrating “Yule Vacations” (Crimbo hols to you and me) illegal. That’s a move worthy of the Grinch and Scrooge combined. And it gets worse! Christmas Day wasn’t an official public holiday in Scotland until 1958, and Boxing Day and New Year weren’t official public holidays in Scotland until 1974 – the horror!
Obviously, not having a day off to inhale pigs in blankets, watch Home Alone for the millionth time, and fall asleep with a paper crown on your heid, meant that Scots had to gie it laldy at Hogmanay instead (there ain’t no party like a New Year’s party after all!).
Clean up yer act!
Whilst we spend New Year’s Eve day getting ready to party or writing our New Year’s Resolutions (this year we really will stick to them), your Granny may have spent her New Year’s Eve redding. It has nothing to do with painting the town red (or even painting your nails red), redding is giving the house a good clean (think Mrs Hinch on turbo mode). According to the old traditions, the house had to be cleaned from top to bottom, so it was all nice and shiny by the bells. The good news is that was considered bad luck to do any cleaning or laundry on New Year’s Day, in case you washed or swept away your good luck for the year ahead (sounds like a good excuse to chill with your mates and some Macb to us!).
Yule never believe this
Whilst we love to scoff a slice or two of chocolate yule log, some people keep it old school with Yule bread. A separate wee loaf is made for everyone in the family, and whoever gets the loaf with a coin or trinket in it will have good luck in the year ahead (although we’re not sure that potentially breaking your teeth on a fifty pence piece counts as good luck, but who are we to argue!).
Burn baby, burn…
Festive fall out or blocked by your BBF on Insta? This old festive tradition could help – burning a rowan twig at Christmas was supposed to clear the air of any bad feeling between friends and family. We’re not too sure how effective twig-based burning would be TBH, so maybe just get them a braw pressie and make up with them in person, just to be on the safe side.
So that’s our top five festive facts about Christmas in Scotland in ye olden days (deffo an official period of history… honest!), we think there were some real crackers in there!
Whatever your festive traditions – whether it’s matching Christmas pjs, a long walk after dinner, or making a turkey curry on Boxing Day – we hope you have a great time. Merry Christmas from everyone at Macb!