Here are the words related to major festivals and celebrations. They are in chronological order through the year.
- First footing - visiting friends and relatives immediately after New Year's Eve. Traditionally, visitors brought a lump of coal for the fire, oatcakes and a quantity of whisky. The "first foot" in a house was always preferred to be "tall, dark and handsome".
- Cream of the Water - the first water drawn from the well on New Year's morning.
- Handsel Monday - first Monday of the New Year on which handsel (presents) were given.
- Burns Night - 25 January, the anniversary of the birth of the poet Robert Burns, in 1759 at which many a "Burns Supper" is consumed and the "Immortal Memory", a speech in praise of the Bard, will be given.
- Candlemas Day - 2 February, a Scottish "quarter day" when rents and other payments fell due.
- Whuppity Scoorie - a rumbstious celebration by the young lads of Lanark on 1st March.
- Bannock Day - Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, prior to Easter.
- April errand - not exactly a celebration but an errand on which an April fool is sent on 1st April...
- Preen-tail Day or Tailie Day - the day following All Fool's Day when paper tails were attached to the backs of unsuspecting people as a joke.
- Glen Saturday - the first or third Saturday in April when the children of Kilmarnock went to Crawfurdland Castle to pick daffodils.
- Whitsunday - the seventh Sunday after Easter,
- Beltane's Day - a pagan fire festival associated with 1 May, another Scottish legal quarter day.
- Glasgow Fair - originally a fair on Glasgow Green but latterly the last two weeks in July when factories and offices closed for summer holidays and Maw, Paw and the Weans went "Doon the Watter" (River Clyde) to the holiday resorts there.
- Lammas - 1 August, a Scottish "Quarter Day" when rents and contracts fell due.
- Bartle Day - 24 August, St Barrtholemew's Day
- Michael Day - 29 September, Michaelmas Day
- Halloween - 31 October, the evening of All Saints Day and the last day in the old Celtic calendar. It was associated with witches and celebrated with bonfires and "guising" as children dressed up and went round with "tattie bogles" or "neep lanterns" (candles inside turnips).
- Guy Fawkes - 5 November, recalling the attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Bonfires, fireworks and "penny for the guy" (effigy of Guy Fawkes providing an excuse for children to plead for money from passers-by).
- Martinmas - 11 November, a Scottish "Quarter Day" when rents and contracts fell due.
- The Daft Days - the festive season at Christmas and New Year
- Sowans Nicht - Christmas Eve
- Christmas - 25 December when presents left by Santa Claus in a sock (pillow case if you're lucky) are opened. Other presents are left beneath the Christmas tree. The same the world over!
- Hogmanay - New Year's Eve, when all Scotland celebrates in the build up to "the bells" chiming midnight and Burns' song "Auld Lang Syne" is murdered once again.
Here are some words and phrases which are found around Christmas and New Year.
- "Whit wid ye like fur yer Christmas?" - In this context Christmas equals Christmas presents so this a question about what you would like from Santa...
- "Gie them their Ne'erday" - Give them their present to mark the New Year.
- "First Fit" - the first person (foot) to enter a house in the New Year - after "the bells" have sounded for midnight. He (always a "he") should preferably be tall and dark (to bring luck) and bring gifts of shortbread, a lump of coal (difficult these days) and some whisky.
- "Bubbly Jock" - a turkey!
- "A wee mindin' " - a small present, often a memento to remind the recipient of the person making the gift.
- "Auld lang syne" - former days and friends, old memories of the past, especially old friendships.
- "Black Bun" - not even black, this is yet another style of rich fruit cake covered in pastry which is often eaten at New Year.
- "Handsel" - a gift intended to bring good luck at the beginning of a year or to mark some special occasion. "Handsel Monday" is the first Monday of the New Year which used to be a holiday.
- "Nip-nebs" - Jack Frost who nips the "nebs" or noses
- "Snell" - piercing as in "The snell wind cuts you to the bone"
- "Bonspeil" - Originally any match or contest but now asociated with a curling match on the open ice in winter time.
- "Up-Helly-Aa" - a festival held in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January. Not to be confused with the traditional Kirkwall game on 1st January of mass street football between the "Uppies" and the "Doonies".
And some words dealing with Yule (Christmas).
- "Yule Day" - this was the traditional Scots word for Christmas and was applied not just to Christmas Day (Yule day) itself but to the season beginning before Christmas Day till after New Year.
- "Yule bannocks" - richly-seasoned oatcakes which were specially baked on Christmas Eve.
- "Yule candle" - a large candle which was burnt slowly and lasted a long time.
- "Yule feast" - Christmas dinner
- "Yule girth" - immunity granted at Christmas
- "Brak Yeel's gird" - crying on Christmas day and so incurring bad luck for the following year.
- "Yule mart" - an ox killed and salted for Christmas (and most of the winter, probably!)
- "Yule vacance" - Christmas holiday
- "Yule shard" - someone who is not prepared for Christmas, either leaving work unfinished before Christmas or who has nothing new to wear for Yule.
- "Auld Yule" - old style Christmas day, originally 5 January.
And here are some words which tie in with 14 February, St Valentine's Day.
When "laddies and lassies" or, in the North-East of Scotland, "loons and quinies" fall in love they are said to "get smitten" or maybe even "plain gyte" - which is very love sick. The laddies' "click" (girlfriend ) will no doubt be regarded as a "stoater" or "brammer" or "bonnie" or "braw" (all words meaning good looking). While "winching" (courting) they may well snatch a "wee cheeper" (a kiss). While at some stage the boy may "speir for" the girl (propose marriage) these days they may well have a spell of "bidie-in" (co-habiting). Burns would no doubt have approved!
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