Friday, December 31, 2010

Guid Hogmanay!

So it's actually New Year's Eve if you can believe it! I can't. This year has seemed to fly by. But I'm not sad to part with it either. I hope that this year is better than the last, and that it bodes well for Scotland.

By the way, the Christmas Pudding turned out really good! It was very delicious and we served it with caramel sauce and whipped cream. (My Americanized version of custard ;-) Over all, I think it is a tradition I will keep going.
Today, I am going to try out a new shortbread recipe my grandma gave me and I will tell you how that works out as well.

Today is also the birthday of Bonnie Prince Charlie, so be sure to drink a toast to the King over the Water tonight.

That's all I have time to write about for now, but have a good Hogmanay and here's a little bit of Burns sung by Dougie MacLean to end the year 2010

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scottish Traditions and Christmas Pudding

Since it's almost Christmas, I thought I should write something about Scottish holiday traditions. But guess what. Like so many other things in Scotland, the celebrating of Christmas was banned. And stayed banned, for almost four hundred years. It started with Oliver Cromwell in the Reformation. In 1647, parliament put a ban on celebrating Christmas and it lasted fifteen years. When Cromwell lost his power, the ban was lifted from most of Britain, but not Scotland. The ban was actually not lifted until the 1950s!

Because of this, the Scots celebrate New Years or Hogmanay. However, most of the Scottish Christmas traditions started to be celebrated on Hogmanay instead so they do still exist today. First Footing is one of those traditions. The first visitor to a home on Christmas day was a First Footer and he had to bring gifts and money. They also lit a candle in the window to welcome strangers into their houses. Yule Bread was another tradition (the eating of it was banned as well). Each person would get a Yule Bread and the person who found the hidden trinket in their loaf would have good luck the next year. There were several other traditions like that, and also burning the twig of a Rowan tree to bring peace between family members. ;-)

The Scots also upheld the old Viking tradition of keeping a fire going to keep away evil spirits. I also remember reading somewhere too, that they had to keep a fire going all night on Christmas Eve so elves would not come and steel the gifts!

Traditional foods, included Black Bun which is like a fruit cake and also Called Twelfth Night Cake along with Turkey, lot's of shortbread and, my favorite, venison stew!

This year, however, I decided to embrace the English part of my heritage and make a traditional Christmas pudding! My mom and I put it together this morning and everyone stirred it and made a wish! It's cooking right now, and I will be sure to tell everyone how it turns out, even if it turns out bad! I love trying traditional recipes. I like to think of all the people who have made the things over the years. How many of my ancestors might have eaten the same things. And if it's really good, I may have started a new tradition! I used this recipe in case anyone is interested, though I did not used either candied peel, or raisons and sultanas. I used apricots and dried cranberries instead.

So I hope everyone has a very good holiday, and I will be back next week to wish ye all a Guid Hogmanay!

Happy Hollidays, and Merry Christamas!

Slainte, Hazel