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Any 'Scottish' customs, traditions or superstitions you keep and what are they?

My mother will still wash her face in the May Morning Dew - 1st of May she will go outside to wash her face with the dew from the grass.  She did this as a kid brought up on the north west islands, like her sisters would do, my grand mother and so on.  I think this comes from the old celtic tradition from celebrating Beltane when they would welcome in the new summer on the morning of the 1st of May.  I personally still do the 'first footing' especially if I am bringing in the new year up in the north west Highlands.  Although the 'Gaelic new year' is traditionally on the 11th or 12th of January - with the traditional meal of "sgaddan agus buntata" (herring and potatoes).  11th or 12th of January goes back to when we used to use the 13 moon calendar in Scotland i believe...

Anyone still keep any Scottish traditions/customs/superstitions?  If so what are they?


  • johnmurrayjnrjohnmurrayjnr Member ✭✭✭
    No new shoes in the table. Is this a Scottish thing?

    If my grandad, who was a fisherman, passed the minister on the way to the boat, he wouldn't sail. A few East Neuk fisherman did this.
  • FishjaggerFishjagger Member ✭✭
    @John_WelcometoFife   That was the same with fishermen in the Hebrides, if they passed a minister on way to the boat they wouldn't sail.  Also if they passed a girl with ginger hair, (on the Isle of Scalpay, Harris) they wouldn't go to sea either.  It's fascinating the fishing communities in Scotland and their superstitions.  Not sure about the no new shoes in the table - will have to find out!
  • BushmanBushman Member ✭✭
    "Lang may yer lum reek" is a saying i use to newly weds or people moving into a new house. 
  • VisitScotlandNikkiRVisitScotlandNikkiR Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    @Fishjagger crossing a new born baby's palm with silver.
  • VisitScotlandAlisonVisitScotlandAlison Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Always have a rowan tree in your garden to ward off witches....
  • johnmurrayjnrjohnmurrayjnr Member ✭✭✭

    If we broke a mirror, my mum always made me bury a piece in the garden to reverse the bad luck????

  • 3penny3penny Member
    Hogmanay customs.   Ever since I was wee, I always remember my mum opening the kitchen window and standing at the front door.  This was so that the New year coming in the front door would chase the old year out of the kitchen window.  We stood at the door and listened for the bells.  Everyone in the street would be out shouting "happy New Year" to all their neighbours.   I still do this 60 years later, but only one other family in the street does the same.  Another custom dying off.
  • quinequine Member
    Never cut your nails on a Sunday ( I think the same superstition applies to hair !) - something to do with the devil / evil being with you all week if you did !!  Lived in fear ever since !
  • FofomaFofoma Member ✭✭✭
    If I spill salt I always throw some over my shoulder. I also don't like putting shoes on the table either new or old! 
  • johnmurrayjnrjohnmurrayjnr Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    @fofoma I never know what shoulder so throw a little over both....
  • themerrydancerthemerrydancer Member ✭✭
    We used to keep the new year tradition of having the first footer come with a coin, some coal and some bread, but not so much anymore. Also it was drilled into me as a child never to put new shoes on a table. still feel uneasy about doing it now! Still do the salt over the shoulder as mentioned above, and we used to stop the clock and put a cover over the mirror when death occurred. I don't see them here, but whenever I seen a magpie, I would always say "one for sorrow", but I changed to saying "hello magpie" instead at some point. I can't actually remember anything else now I'm on the spot!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] ✭✭✭✭
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  • PartogPartog Member
    Crushing empty eggshells to prevent witches using them to cause problems at sea. I believe my Granma Bow was Orcadian
  • BushmanBushman Member ✭✭
    You throw salt over your left shoulder to blind the devil. Also heard the saying more than once " Be ye cummin be ye gett dinna forget tae steek the yett"
  • VisitScotlandAlisonVisitScotlandAlison Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    My P7 teacher always said "Rabbits,rabbits, hares,hares" on the first of the month??? Can anyone explain ?!
  • VisitScotlandJulieVisitScotlandJulie Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    I say rabbits! It has to be the first thing you say out loud on the 1st but I don't know why.  :/
    I do remember you were supposed to say it on the 1st of a certain month (maybe February or March). It hasn't brought me any luck...but I'm still that's lucky!
  • VisitScotlandAlisonVisitScotlandAlison Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    In Arbroath this is called a Heise - no idea of the spelling of why it is called that . Maybe I should put that into favourite Scottish words!
  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    I go by the no new shoes on a table and no opening packets of crisps upside down!
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesSpotify, Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Fascinating. I am not Scottish by any means but who'd put shoes on a table? (and what kind of table are we talking about)
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited October 2017
    @Horizons I've not a clue how it came about but only remember my mum shouting at me after I put new shoes on the table :D
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesSpotify, Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
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