Christmas in Scotland: 12 ancient traditions and customs of a Scottish Christmas or “Yule”



Where there is history there are traditions and Scotland has many colorful traditions given its thousands of years of rich history – this includes Christmas which, although widely celebrated today, was banned in Scotland for almost 400 years.

During the Reformation (circa 1600s), the UK was ruled by Oliver Cromwell who banned the ‘Christ’s Mass’. Eventually, Cromwell fell from power, which saw the ban lifted everywhere but Scotland, which was, in a nutshell, due to Presbyterianism.

Scots celebrating Christmas did so quietly as the event, once known as Yule, was removed from the calendar and harsh punishments awaited anyone who took part. For the Scots, this time was reduced to little more than another working day until 1958, when Christmas Day was finally recognized as a public holiday.

Despite this gap in Scottish festivities, the country still has a myriad of traditions, for even before the Reformation the winter solstice (i.e. Yule or “Yogh” in older Scots) was celebrated by druids, pagans and vikings – ancestors who roamed Scotland for a long time. before us.

From why we hang mistletoe to the origins of Christmas bread, here are 12 ancient Christmas traditions and customs in Scotland.

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