Friday, December 31, 2010

First Footing

The Tradition

Following the Protestant Reformation in Scotland in the latter half of the sixteenth century, it was considered irreverent to celebrate dates of religious importance. Thus, merriment and celebrations were reserved for Hogmanay (pronounced Hog-muh-nay), this important part of the year combined both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with a celebration of good will and good fortune.

The use of the term "first-footin'", according to legend, is as follows:

fortune would smile on the household if the first person to set foot in the doorway on the New Year was a young man; presumably tall, handsome, healthy, dark haired, dark-eyed, and bearing gifts (such as a lump of coal, to warm the hearth; loaf of bread, for a plentiful table; and coins for prosperity). Today it does no harm if the first-footer carries a bottle of his best and favorite beverage to offer his host a drink and a toast, stating "Lang may your lum reek." This traditional Scottish salutation wishes its recipient long life and prosperity. It literally means “long may your chimney smoke” (hence the lump of coal).

A first-footer who arrived empty handed was seen as a terrible omen of poverty and loss in the New Year. However, it was traditionally believed that it spelled disaster upon the household if the first person across the threshold was a woman of any age, especially a blond. (This may be due to the Viking raiders, most of whom had blond hair and certainly spelled disaster upon any rival’s home that they visited.)
A doctor or lawyer was also undesirable, as the first-footer; doctors would bring illness or death and lawyers would bring trouble and disaccord.

Several towns throughout the hillsides of Scotland continue an age old annual ritual of a walking the town limits to restate or reclaim the boundaries of the township.

These traditions have been adopted as part of the Rural Hill Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) celebration, known simply as “First Footin’”. Traditionally, the fulfillments of Hogmanay’s rituals and folklore have assured good crops, good health, and good fortune in the coming year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Foothills Highland Games

Well Foothills Highland Games has came and gone for another year.  Yeah!!!  I am doing the "Happy Dance".

Woke up, vomiting and left hotel an hour later. Windshield was covered with frost, finally got it thawed and removed.  It was the coldest it has ever been in the ten years of Foothills Highland Games. Still managed to arrive at park before sunrise.  Drove into total insanity!  Too dark too see numbers on the field. One vendor just showed up - not approved to be a vendor or having paid be a vendor and no space assignment. Everyone was trying to plug in to generator that was only enough power for a certain number of vendors that paid for electric - kept blowing the circuits and then discovered someone was trying to run a fridge, TV, DVD player and WiFi that had been told if we had an outlet after the paying vendors hooked up he could hook up his TV and DVD player.  Got my head bit off by a charity organizer's husband, lead singer of one of our bands almost took him out for being so rude to me - I was told later.  Shawn, your my hero of the day!

Then the sun came out!  Insert "Heavenly Music" here.  Every thing went smoothly, I stayed in the VIP tent most of the day, being taken care of by the VIP tent chairmen. 

Clan Scott's boxes and tent lay in Clan Scott's space all day long. I felt too bad to go set it up and didn't really care! Joe & Shirley, 2 Clan Scott members arrived and had Clan Scott's banner in the Parade of Tartans.

Photo from a warmer healthier day with Shirley and Joe.  Wish I had a photo of Joe that day, he had on a LL Bean - flannel shirt in black and white Clan Scott tartan.
And for bravery - the award goes to Aubrey, who showed up to beautify the games.

Photo of Aubrey, also, from a much much warmer day!  She sat in the sun, out of the wind and said she wasn't all that cold. Mmmm, right!  Little girls would be walking by and suddenly see her, and stop in their tracks.  "Mommy, a fairy!"  The mommies would bring them over to Aubrey and she would share fairy dust with them!  A lot of happy little girls forgot how cold they were, and walked away looking at their hands and their fairy dust.

Fairies really do make dreams come true!  I believe, I believe, I believe!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Scotland County Highland Games

October 2, we were at Scotland County Highland Games in Laurinburg NC.
If you are wondering about the three different looking tartans we are wearing, they aren't different except for color and weight.  The weaving pattern is identical.  Rick is wearing Scott Modern Green in a 16 oz weight wool, sweetest piece of fabric I have ever sewn!!! I have on Scott Modern Red in a 13 oz cotton, affordable! Lee is wearing, my favorite, Scott Ancient Green in a 10 or 12 oz blend.  Why is there difference between Modern Green and Ancient Green?  Modern is dyed in a chemical dye and Ancient was dyed in vegetable dye, originally.  Oh yes, Rick is holding Scott Modern Red flag and Lee has the Scott Ancient Red flag.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

At the Patron's Reception.Scotts in front of Clan Scott tent.

Clan Scott at the Cairn Stones.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Greater Greenville SC Scottish Games & Highland Festival

A few of the Scott's stopped by the Clan Scott tent to hangout and visit.

Then a few more people dropped by briefly, to chat.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sir Walter Scott vs. Robert Burns

One of my Facebook friends had an interesting comment, the other day:
We have a George Washington's birthday on the calender and a Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday on the calender , then why do we not have a Sitting Bull birthday or a Crazy horse? you know I am just saying fair is fair, right?

My thoughts continued to:
Kind of like all the "Robert Burn's Dinners" , why not a "Sir Walter Scott Dinner". Walter was a "Sir" and wrote a whole lot more than Robert! Thing to add to the "Why?" list.

An August dinner would be so much pleasanter to attend than a January dinner. High heels on ice, a brisk breeze up hubby's kilt, creeping down a slick hillside road to site of venue; don't forget the $25-$35 per person. Oh, yes, I have been there. "How soon can we leave for home and defrost?" One wee shot of import Scotch at $8-$12 isn't going to work!

August dinner could be held in a sunny park like setting. a few choice reads of excerpts from plays by Walter, everyone joining to sing "Loch Lomond" - lyrics are said to be written by the Duchess of Buccleuch, and how about everyone bringing their favorite Scottish dish to share.

That seems like my kind of fun. How about camping together and having a relaxed pleasant time for the week end - "On the Bonny Bonny Shores of Loch ----?Norman?" Yea that works!

Frugal in the proper Scottish tradition. Bring the kids and the grandkids, no babysitter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6th is National Tartan Day

Scott Modern Red

Today is National Tartan Day.

When choosing a tartan you can sometimes have a difficult choice in which side of your family to honor.
Normally the father's or husband's tartan is the tartan a girl or woman wears.
Exception being if the mother's family outranks the father's. Normally a Stewart/Stuart tartan would not be outranked, being the line of Royalty.
I choose to wear the Scott tartans.
I grew up surrounded by my mother's family, the Scotts.
My mother was eldest living daughter of twelve siblings.
She was a second mother to her youngest siblings.

My father's family, the Butes, cut ties, with my mother and I, after my father's death.
I did ask his only living brother to walk me down the aisle when I married the first time; that was the last time I ever saw my uncle.

Stuart of Bute

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Border Reivers

Border Reivers were raiders along the Anglo–Scottish border from the late 13th century to the end of the 16th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English families, and they raided the entire border country without regard to their victims' nationality. Their heyday was perhaps in the last hundred years of their existence, during the Tudor dynasty in England.

If you ever had a relative that you thought had murderess tendencies -
"You might be a Border Reiver!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toast to Saint Patrick's Day

"Here's to you and yours, And to mine and ours, And if mine and ours ever come across you and yours, I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Games for NC Clan Scott

I have updated the list, on the sidebar, of games NC Clan Scott will be attending and have a tent at. In addition to NC games I will, also, be at Greenville SC.

The Greenville games are a "Don't Miss" this year, due to a very special Royal Guest.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Hogmanay

In Scotland, all the Scots' love of dancing, music, mischievous merry-making and, of course, whisky drinking, come together in the biggest party of the year - Hogmanay (New Year's Eve to the rest of us).
Consider the tremendous influence of Scottish traditions on our own New Year's Eve celebrations - what song do we all sing? Auld Lang Syne, naturally. What list do we all make on January 1? Our New Year's resolutions, a tradition invented by the Scots (yes, really). Why are guests told to BYOB? Because the Scots have a custom called "first footing" which consists of a handsome young man (we wish) being the first to cross our threshold as soon as the "bells ring" at midnight, bearing gifts of bread or meat (food for the new year), coal (warmth for the new year), and, what else? Whisky - drink for the new year and by far the most important and consistently unforgotten contribution.
History of Hogmanay in Scotland
How did it come about that the Scots celebrate New Year's so much more heartily than Christmas? During the middle ages, Scotland celebrated a merry Christmas just as cheerfully, piously and faithfully as the other Celtic countries - a wonderful combination of celebrating the "Christ's Mass" in the Catholic tradition combined with Celtic customs and traditions that are familiar to us through celebrations in England and Ireland.
For instance, the Scots decorated their homes with mistletoe and juniper, created and performed comic skits (mumming), prepared and ate special foods, and carefully selected and prepared a Yule log (a tradition the Scots still maintain and Christmas itself is still often called "Yule" in Scotland).
Unfortunately, in the late 1500s, the Scottish Reformation took a strong stand against pagan (eg, Catholic) celebrations and abolished Christmas. They abolished it for four hundred years - no kidding. Christmas was not a day off work for most Scots until almost 1960. This is not to say the Scots didn't celebrate Christmas; it was just a private, family holiday without much ado.
But this went very much against Scots nature. The Scots like to party. They like to have fun. So in the early 1600s, they changed the date of New Year's from March 25 to January 1 and began celebrating Hogmanay.
As the original midwinter celebrations were based on the fire rituals of pagan times (the Yule log is an example), and as many Scots remained Catholic, especially in the Highlands, the resourceful Scots simply transferred the bulk of their Christmas celebrations to New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Throughout Scotland today, Hogmanay is a two-day holiday (no work on January 1 or 2) filled with all kinds of festivals, parties, bonfires and, now, fireworks. Edinburgh's Hogmanay Festival lasts for days and includes one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world. In many parts of Scotland, a midnight mass is still celebrated on New Year's Eve.
And just like us, they sing Auld Lang Syne and often wake up with a major hangover the next morning.