Please give a warm welcome to B.J. Scott, the author of Highland Homecoming! Below is her guest post and B.J. will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card, Scottish shortbread cookies, can cooler and mouse pad (US/CANADA ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a beaded book thong with silver charms, book marks, pen, and canvas tote to a randomly drawn host (US/CANADA ONLY).. Feel free to leave a comment for her!
One of the most interesting facts that I discovered when researching Scottish history for my books and fascinating things about the holiday season is that for nearly 400 years, the celebration of Christmas as we know it was banned in Scotland. In 1647, during a time known as the Reformation, British parliament banned the celebration of Christmas for nearly 15 years. The ban was lifted in England, but remained in Scotland. Christmas was a quiet, reverent time. People attended church services, had a light Christmas dinner and decorations were limited to pine boughs and holly. Well into the 20th century most people worked on Christmas. Hogmanay, celebrated on New Year was and still remains the major festival in Scotland during the Yule season.
The origin of the word and custom is always under debate.
Did it come from the Anglo-Saxon word Haleg Monath, meaning Holy month?
Did it come from the Gaelic word meaning New Morning—oge maidne?
Did it come from the Scandinavian word Hoggo-nott?
Did it come from the French word Homme est ne, meaning man is born?
Some believe it came with the Norsemen, the history based in Celtic religion while other believe it dates back to the Picts.
Regardless of where it began it has been celebrated for centuries, remains an important date on the Scottish Calendar, and is steeped in traditions.
Perhaps the most common is First Footing. After midnight neighbors visit each other bringing gifts. The first guest who crosses the threshold, preferably someone tall, dark and handsome, brings luck for the New Year. They bear gifts of coal, black bun (fruit cake) shortbread and an ample supply of whisky. If a red-haired man or worse, a red-haired lady is the first to cross the threshold, it is considered bad luck.
As with many Celtic festivals, bonfires are lit as a means of cleansing and to drive away evil spirits. Children visited neighbors hoping for gifts.
Among the traditions is a good spring cleaning called redding. Homes are cleaned, ashes removed from the hearth and debts paid. In preparation for the New Year.
And let’s not forget the singing of Robbie Burn’s version of Auld Lang Syne.
Whether you celebrate a traditional Scottish Hogmany or have your own New Years tradition
Bliadhna mhathùr! (pronounced BLEEne vah OOHR)
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Highland Homecoming (Fraser Brothers Trilogy #3)
by B.J. Scott (Goodreads Author)The last thing Alasdair Fraser expects to find on an isolated beach along the coast of northern Scotland is a beautiful, unconscious lass. Unable to turn his back on someone in need, he delays his journey and tend so her injuries–an act that has him questioning his plans to rejoin Robert the Bruce and the fight for Scotland’s independence.
Will he drop the shield that guards his heart or will the secrets she fails to reveal, a king-sanctioned marriage to another man, and his own stubbornness keep them apart forever