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Scottish traditions at Christmas and Hogmanay

Date published: 27/11/2023

Embracing the Spirit of the Highlands. Scottish Traditions at Christmas and Hogmanay.

Come along to the Scottish Highlands! Where Christmas and Hogmanay bring a mix of old traditions and new celebrations. As winter winds sweep through the rugged landscapes, Scots get ready for a special time filled with unique Scottish traditions. Let’s explore the magic of the season together. Discover the festive customs that make this time of year in Scotland truly wonderful.

winter at eagle brae covered in a blanket of snow.
Eagle Brae covered in a blanket of winter snow.

Christmas in Scotland

In Scotland, Christmas is a time for family, friends and festivities.

During the Christmas season in Scotland, people love to eat two special dishes, Scotch Broth and Clootie Dumplings. Scotch Broth is a tasty meat soup that warms you up. Clootie Dumplings is a sweet dessert made with dried fruit, spices and suet. Eating these dishes brings back memories of festive celebrations that have been happening for a long time. It’s a delicious way to enjoy the festive season and feel connected to Scottish traditions.

Did you know that in the past, celebrating Christmas was actually banned in Scotland? Back in the 1600s, the Scottish Parliament decided to put a stop to Christmas festivities. They thought Christmas was too associated with Catholicism and a bit too rowdy. It wasn’t until 1958 that Christmas became a recognised public holiday again. Thankfully, things have changed and now Christmas is a time for celebration in Scotland just like in many other places around the world.

In Scotland, the tradition of working on Christmas Day has become a thing of the past for many, replaced by a host of other endearing Scottish traditions that continue to endure. Among these is the practice of baking unleavened Yule bread for every family member. This time-honoured ritual involves placing a small trinket within the dough. The person who discovers it in their portion is believed to have good luck throughout the coming year.

scotch broth in a tartan pattern bowl
Scotch Broth Soup.

A Scottish Hogmanay

As Christmas festivities wind down Scots turn their attention to Hogmanay. Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration that rivals even the most extravagant of global festivities.

Hogmanay has ancient roots in pagan and Viking traditions.  One of the traditions is called First Footing which means the first person to come into your house after midnight is supposed to bring good luck for the next year. They might bring a small gift like coal, shortbread or whisky to bring warmth and cheer.

Then there’s the Auld Lang Syne sing-along. Everyone holds hands and says goodbye to the old year and welcomes the new one. The poet Robert Burns famously made this tradition. Is so special that even people all around the world join in on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight. It’s a fun and heartfelt way for Scots to celebrate the start of a brand new year.

Hogmanay Fireworks in scotland
Hogmanay Fireworks.

So, wrapping up our journey through Scotland’s festive charm, Christmas and Hogmanay here is more than just dates in the calendar. They are a blend of old customs, cosy gatherings and heartfelt celebrations. The traditions in the Highlands passed down through generations make the festive season truly special.

Christmas wreath on the door at eagle brae lodge.

If you are looking for a joyful festive experience in the Scottish Highlands why not plan your Christmas or New Year 2024 getaway at Eagle Brae? Let the wonderful Scottish traditions at Eagle Brae create lasting memories for you and your loved ones. Book now for a holiday filled with charm and warmth!

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