Friday, December 20, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway: Author of Highland Homecoming, B.J. Scott

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!


Highland Homecoming

Highland Homecoming (Fraser Brothers Trilogy #3)

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

 photo signature.png


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Catherine Lee said...

I knew none of that about Hogmanay. How Interesting! I went and looked it up to get even more information. As a librarian, I LOVE having a little information about a LOT of Hogmanay! Thanks for the fun facts this morning.
Bliadhna mhathùr! to you too.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for hosting my book on your blog today.
This is the final stop on my blog tour and also want to those who have commented throughout the tour. I also want to say hello to any new visitors, will answer any questions you might have and tomorrow there will be draw for the prizes.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a wonderful book, I can't wait to read it.


MomJane said...

This sounds like such a great series. I really enjoyed your comments on the holiday. Things I never knew

Unknown said...

thanks for dropping by Catherine. Yes a librarian would need to know a lot about all sorts of things and I find the holiday traditions of the Highlands very fascinating. I didn't know about the ban on Christmas in Scotland for almost 400 years until I was doing my research ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping by Rita

Unknown said...

Thanks Mom Jane

Chelsea B. said...

Yea! I've really enjoyed the tour! :-)
All my best,


bn100 said...

Interesting series

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Leslie Soule said...

What a great post! Thanks for the interesting information. I find that doing the research and discovering new things is often the most exciting part of the writing process.
Best of luck! Your book sounds great!

falcondraco at Hotmail dot com