One Week Until Christmas and We are Talking About Traditions
Before the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland was celebrated in much the same way it was across Catholic Europe. It involved feasts, games, and gifts. In Scotland, it was called “Yule” which has Pagan roots. The word refers to the mid-winter’s celebration of the winter’s solstice. This all changed When Oliver Cromwell came into power. Because the church and state were so closely linked, Christmas was seen as a very Catholic celebration and was in turn banned from being celebrated across England and Scotland. For over 15 years Christmas holidays, feasts, and masses were abolished, until Oliver Cromwell fell. Christmas was then celebrated once more across England, but the Scottish Presbyterian Church discouraged celebrations from happening in Scotland click this site. This ban on Christmas lasted about 400 years. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that Christmas Day and Boxing Day were recognised holidays in Scotland.
During the ban on Christmas this day was treated as just an ordinary day. People would go to work, there were no trees, and no gifts. People often suffered penalties if they were caught celebrating Christmas. Bakers had to report individuals who requested the traditional Yule bread during this time. The Yule bread is a loaf of unleavened bread that is baked for each person in the family, and the person who finds a trinket in his or her loaf will have good luck all year. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century, when the church and state started to drift away from each other that Christmas began to be celebrated once more. Many traditions from the US and England made their way into Scotland, including Santa, Christmas Trees, Christmas Carols, and Christmas Dinner.
Christmas Dinner is a large part of Christmas traditions in Scotland today. It normally begins with a warming bowl of soup – something traditional like lentil or cock-a-leekie. The main is of course a roast turkey with roasted potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, chipolatas, and brussel sprouts. Of course this can vary from house hold to house hold. Some prefer venison stew, or maybe a roast beef, but most prefer a large roast turkey. Pudding is the traditional Christmas Pudding, a boiled pudding filled with dried fruit that have been soaked in brandy. It is held together with eggs and suet and is flavoured with lovely Christmas spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. The day then progresses to watching the Queen’s speech at 3pm.
It is easy to see across Scotland that Christmas is going nowhere anytime soon. Edinburgh features it famous German Christmas Market each year from the end of November until Christmas Eve. This takes place in the Princes Street Gardens and is full of gift stalls, food stall, and rides. There is also now the Scottish Christmas Market on George Street, which at night turns into the Street of Lights. Towns and Cities across Scotland, no matter how big or small, celebrate in their own way as well. Most have their own Christmas tree in the town centre, and high streets are lined with lights. Most have a Turning on the Christmas Lights night which brings the whole town out to celebrate the festive season. It is a long way to have come in only a few short decades, and I do believe that as the years go by more and more traditions will be made across Scotland to celebrate one of the largest holidays across the country.