Scottish Stuff in New Jersey - Events - Food - Kilts

Robert Burns Birthday - Jan. 25

A Burns night celebration includes a reading of his poem "Ode To A Haggis" and a meal of haggis, tatties-an'-neeps.

St. Andrew's Day -
The feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on November 30.
Saint Andrew, the apostle of Christ and brother of Peter, is the patron saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day (although Burns' Night is more widely-observed).

See: Wikipedia
Saint Andrew at the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh.

New Years Hogmanay Celebration:
Hogmany (hog-mə-nay) is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year.

There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder.

The Hogmanay custom of singing "Auld Lang Syne" has become common in many countries. "Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem by Robert Burns, based on traditional and other earlier sources. It is now common to sing this in a circle of linked arms that are crossed over one another as the clock strikes midnight for New Year's Day, though it is only intended that participants link arms at the beginning of the final verse, co-ordinating with the lines of the song that contain the lyrics to do so.

A hogmanay bonfire is also common.
The name "bonfire" comesfrom the fact that bonfires were originally fires in which old bones were burned. The traditional Hogmanay bonfire is thought to mimic the Sun and encourage its return in mid winter. The flames also helped purify cattle of evil spirits and good give good luck.

The most spectacular of these include the Biggar Bonfire, Comrie's Flambeaux Procession and perhaps the most famous, the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony.

The Lawrence Township, New Jersey holds an annual hogmany bonfire where you write down all the bad things from the previous year that you wish to toss into the fire.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay is one of the biggest and best New Year celebrations in the world.

Kirkin' o' the Tartan - Held at different times.

The origins of the Kirkin' O' The Tartans may reach back over 250 years. After the tragedy of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, tartans, along with the kilt, bagpipes, and battle weapons, were outlawed in Scotland. Legend tells us that Scots were unwilling to part with their beloved tartans. Though wearing tartan in public could draw severe penalties, it is said that many placed pieces of their tartan in their Bibles. When attending church, they would be called forward to receive a blessing. As they knelt before the minister, they would open their Bibles to where the tartan lay. The minister would place his hand on the open Bible, over the tartan, and give the blessing. Receiving a blessing on the tartan in this way, was said to receive blessing on all those of the clan, wherever they were. Whether or not there is some degree of truth in this legend, we may never know.

During WWII, there was concern that Americans were not signing up to fight on behalf of Britain.

Rev. Peter Marshall, Scottish-born Chaplain of the USA Senate, attempted to instill pride in their homeland among Scots living in the USA. The Kirkin' o' the Tartan ceremony was created by Rev. Marshall and held in the Presbyterian churches across the USA.

During the Kirking, which uses some of the Scottish Church form, a display of clan tartans is presented for blessing. Swatches of individual clan tartans are offered, rededicating to God's service the family members identified by the particular tartan.

Saint Andrew's Society of Washington, DC - Last Sunday in April - St. Andrew Society of Southern California - 2nd Sunday in Nov.

Tartan Day - April 6, 2004
Tartan day began in 1998, the same year the Scotland Act was past re-establishing the Scottish Parliament, and it is now firmly part of the US calendar.

Scottish dignitaries visit New York and Wash. DC, where there are parades and other activities.

Beltane, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn
The Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 30 April, but sometimes on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers.
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last updated 13 Jan 2004