Every 31st December, the world prepares to ring in the new year, but none do this quite like the Scots. Hogmanay celebrations are not even limited to New Year's Eve, because both 1st January and 2nd January are Bank Holidays.
Christmas has come and gone, and January sales have passed which only means one thing for a shop owner – time to stock some new products! This is one of the more exciting times where we get to fill one of our many roles as buyers. The end of january is the perfect time for us to go and scout out new products as the Scotland’s Trade Fair comes to Glasgow.
Before the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland was celebrated in much the same way it was across Catholic Europe. It involved feasts, games, and gifts. In Scotland, it was called “Yule” which has Pagan roots. The word refers to the mid-winter’s celebration of the winter’s solstice.
This all changed when Oliver Cromwell came to power.
St. Andrew’s Day (or in Scottish Gaelic ‘Là Naomh Anndrais’), marks the country’s patron saint and occurs every year on November 30th. Many Countries have a patron saint. England has St George, Wales has St David, and Ireland has St Patrick. These patron saints have generally been chosen because they share some connection with that saint. They may have preached there, died there, or had some or all of his relics transferred there. Scotland is no different.
The thistle is iconic in Scotland. You can find it on glassware, on belt buckles, on earrings and brooches, and even as the focus in the artwork of many artists around Scotland. But when other countries have flowers such as the rose, or the daffodil, how did Scotland acquire the spiny, jaggy thistle?