From marking the winter solstice to scaring children with a sinister creature come to punish them for being naughty – here are some historic Christmas traditions from Scotland.
Tis the season to be jolly, and we have many traditions to bring us all closer together, from sharing turkey dinners to singing Christmas songs.
Here are a few interesting Scottish traditions and festive folklore that you might, or might not, know about.
1. The Cailleach
Also known as "The Veiled One" is a Celtic winter goddess of the cold and the wind. She was a creator and a destroyer, and would determine how long the winter would last. She was neither good nor evil, an immortal being, she would return to her youth in the spring, ageing again in the winter. The Celts would pile up stones for her, to give her shelter, and in return, she would bring fertility to the land. Photo: Wiki Commons
2. Burning a Rowan twig
A long-held tradition amongst Scottish families is burning a branch from a Rowan Tree during the festive season. They did this as it was said to clear away bad feelings, mistrust or jealousy between family and friends. Photo: ttretjak via Canva Pro
3. Crom Dubh na Nollaig - The dark Christmas spirit
The arrival of ‘Crom Dubh na Nollaig’ or ‘the dark crooked one of Christmas’ was marked by the sound of wind howling in the chimney. It would come to terrorise children who had misbehaved. This legend is not dissimilar to the European myth of the Krampus. Photo: via WikiCommons
There are a lot of Celtic myths involving mistletoe. In Pliny's Natural History, he said that Druids would cut mistletoe growing on an oak and sacrifice two white bulls to create a potion that would promote fertility. They would also hang mistletoe above doorways to ward off evil spirits. It is also linked with peace and friendship. Photo: Wiki Commons