Scotland Christmas

Tru here.

One quarter of my heritage is from Scotland and Ireland.

Dec 24 in Scotland (Oats, Homefire, and Gifts):
Because they were perceived to be supporting Roman Catholicism,
Dec 25 celebrations were supressed beginning in 1545,
then banned from 1640 until 1958 (see “Legalities” Link at base of entry).
So all celebrations were Dec 24.

i read that some Scots still enjoy Dec 24 as ‘Sowans Nicht’.  Sowans is Fermented Oats;

“husks or seeds of oats, together with some fine meal, steeped in water for about a week until the mixture turns sour, then strained and the husks thoroughly squeezed to extract all the meal, when the jelly-like liquor is left for a further period to ferment and separate, the solid glutinous matter which sinks to the bottom being sowans, and the liquid, swats.”
(see dictionary Link, and also recipe, at the base of entry).

“A popular tradition practiced here on Christmas Eve is burning the branches of a rowan tree,
which signifies that any bad feeling between friends or relatives had been put aside for Yuletide.
It is believed that if the fire goes out on Christmas Eve,
the household would suffer bad luck in the coming year.
Many children hang up their stockings at the end of their bed before going to bed
believing Santa would come and fill them before morning.
Some kids use pillow cases instead of stockings.”
(per “The Holiday Spot” article for Scotland, see Link at the base of entry.)

Another special food my research showed was a “Clootie Dumpling” (a Pudding-Cake) see Link at the base of entry.

Possibly due to Catholic-Protestant conflict, it seems that Scotland’s New Year’s celebration of “Hogmanay” may be a larger celebration that Christmas, at least until the more recent decades.

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Grammy’s maternal (McNeel) branches show much movement between generations living in Scotland, and generations living in Ireland.
i lost track for our ancestors with surname “McNeel” in Ulster Ireland, which was largely descended from Scot settlers.

But also in those branches are Scots-Irish, with surnames Beaton, Currie, Douglass, McHarg, Arthur, Campbell, Thompson, McConnell, McMillen, Shannon, MacBean, MacKintosh, Reid, and McNaught (McNott, McNutt, McNitt, etc).  Almost all of these ancestors’ records are lost somewhere in Scotland or Ulster Ireland (which was largely Scot immigrants).

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Family History Index at ;

Legalities at ;
“Sowans” in Dictionary of the Scots Language at ;
The Holiday Spot/Scotland at ;
“Clootie Dumpling” at .
Recipe for Sowans (originally sourced from a McNeil in book “The Scottish Kitchen” !) at ; Rowan Tree at .

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