The Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Ninth Day

Well, this is the last day of my holiday – which means this will be the last post in The Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History Blog series to be put up on the blog first. So remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of this Blog series – which will be released in a Newsletter on the 26th of December.

Let’s push on.

On the last day of my Christmas Holidays my employer gave to me…one hell of a Christmas Party!

The Twelfth Night was an old Christian Holiday marking the end of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Interestingly it’s actually on January 5th depending on the time of counting. Well, I found it’s interesting- since I don’t usually associate January with anything Christmas related.

In 567 A.D to fix an “administrative problem” with matching their Roman Calendar with the lunar calendars used in various regions of their Empire, The Council of Tours declared “The Twelve Days of Christmas” a sacred time, establishing the tradition of “Advent fasting” to usher in the feast.

While there are many traditions associated with this medieval rager – not least among which was the custom of going from house-to-house singing, often referred to as wassailing (wait a minute, we’ve heard that name before) – I think my favourite would have to be the Twelfth Night Cake. Which is – as you might expect – a cake, but hidden inside this confectionery hides one bean and one pea. And whom so ever finds the bean shall be king for the night; and whoever finds the pea shall be queen.

Again, if I’m getting any of this wrong please tell me down below in the comments.

As I write this I realise that I’m probably not doing this wickedly fun festival justice. I mean this is only a short blog post, it’s not like I’ve got a novel’s worth of space…oooh idea. Are you into the Twelfth Night? The Twelve Days of Christmas? Good. Then go read The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair. Not only will you find multiple chapters detailing this fascinating tradition, but romance, humour and perhaps even a witch trial or two. Which is always fun, for the reader anyway – maybe less so for the characters.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on TwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreadsTumblrTikTokKofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Eighth Day

On the Eighth Day of my Christmas Holidays my Employer gave to me…eight dead birds with stuffing up their butts.

As far as we can look back human societies have been celebrating their winter festivals with midwinter feasts. They would have looked slightly different to the roast turkey and stuffing pictured above – heck I’m vegan so mine doesn’t even look like that – but the feeling would have been the same.

Archaeological finds have shown that feasts were conducted during celebrations of the pagan midwinter solstice. With the main meats being pork and beef – which would either be cooked over a spit or chopped up and used in winter stews. Alongside the meat would be seasonal fruits like crabapples or berries, different from us and yet not at all.

From the Romans with their Saturnalia, to the Monks of the Middle Ages with their special spices and roasted fish – humans have been using food to eat away at our winter worried from the very start.

Jump to Tudor times and things are looking down right decedent at our Christmas tables. Or at least the tables of the wealthy. Not only is this the arrival of the Turkey into England , – in 1523 – we also have things like blackbirds, badgers and swans filling the feasts of Henry VIII. Not to mention the mince meat pies, which back then were the size of a baby’s cradle.

Come the Georgian period, the Brussel Sprout makes its first appearance- at least on the British plate.

By Victorian times, this midwinter feast has become a smaller more intimate affair. With trimmings like roasted parsnips and potatoes, along with a cooked goose making it’s way onto even the most humble of plates.

And come to today where we celebrate this midwinter feast in anyway we so choose – nut roasts, KFC, Chinese Food – it really doesn’t matter. Just so long as you’re stuffing yourself silly, you’re continuing this wonderful tradition. Oh, I promised myself I wouldn’t cry.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on TwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreadsTumblrTikTokKofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series. 

The Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore &History: The Sixth Day

On the Sith Day of my Christmas holiday my employer gave to me….oh my god what’s that!

Okay so, I said I was going to talk about some folklore on this folklore Christmas blog series, so let’s talk about some Folklore. Just…just don’t look into his eyes and everything should be okay.

Appearing in the visage of a monstrous goat man in the Central and Eastern Alpine Folklore – Krampus was said to join Saint Nicolas in visiting houses on December 5th. While Good old St. Nick would give presents like oranges and chocolate to the good kids, Krampus would punish the bad ones by hitting them with birch sticks.

Which is certainly not nice, but it’s a bit of a leap from that to…well…we’ve all seen the film.

You haven’t?

Oh you should, it’s really good.

And since I can’t seem to stop myself let’s end on a bit of history.

While people have theorised that the myth of Krampus has pre-Cristian roots, particularly in traditional Alpine traditions – what with the celebrations involving him dating back to at least the 6th or 7th century – there is no written sources of him until the end of the 16th century.

Like always if I’ve left anything out or gotten something wrong, mention it down below in the comments. It’s why I have them.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series.

Twelves Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Fifth Day

On the Fifth Day of my Christmas Holidays my employer gave to me…Five Carol Singers!

Christmas Carols as a tradition can be traced as far back as 4th century Rome, where they were grim hymns sung all in Latin.  In the 9th and 10 century, European monasteries made Christmas “sequences” and “prose” into rhythmic stanzas.

However recognizable English Christmas carols wouldn’t appear – at least in a recorded way – until 1426 when Chaplain John Awdlay listed twenty-five “carols of cristemas” in one of his works.  Songs undoubtedly already made popular by groups calling themselves ‘wassailers’ who went from house to house singing the hymns.  In fact, many carols originated from communal songs sung during all kinds of celebrations, and not just Christmas.

Flash forward to the 19th century where the publication of the first “Christmas music books” suddenly expanded the popularity of carols beyond all previous expectations.

So if you’re bugged at your door this Christmas by people in Victorian garbs singing ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, you can blame it on the Romans. Hmm…most of this has been just plain history not much Folklore, oh well there’s always tomorrow.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series.

Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Fourth Day

On the fourth day of my Christmas holidays my employer gave to me…4 popping crackers at a party.

In 1847 Tom smith invented the Christmas Cracker, intending for them to be an evolution of his already popular bon-bon sweet. However, after hearing the crackle of a log, he put on the fire, Smith was inspired to make the paper cracker go off with a bang! The sweet inside was eventually replaced with a toy or present.

A memorial fountain was erected in honor of Tom Smith and his family in Finsbury Square, London.

And interesting fact about Christmas Crackers in the present, they’re explicitly prohibited from being brought on any commercial flights in and to the United States. Britain is apparently a little more lenient, and it depends on what airline you use.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series.

Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Third Day

On the third day of my Christmas holiday my employer gave to me…Three Countdown Chocolates to Christmas Revelry. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series.

The word advent is from the Latin word for ‘coming’; and the period of Advent was originally for converts to Christianity to prepare for their baptism. However now it’s a countdown for my favourite day of the year.

The first printed Advent Calendar was created by Gerhard Lang in early 20th century, but because of a cardboard shortage in the 1930s he had to shut down production.

Interesting fact, during WWII the Nazis produced their own advent calendar which was basically just a pamphlet with pictures of swastikas and tanks being blown up. History is depressing.

Post WWII Richard Sellmer created his own winter themed – no swastikas or tanks in this one thank you – calendar and began selling them on mass.

And eventually the art of the Advent calendar hit it’s highest peak with the emergence of the first Chocolate advent Calendar in 1958.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season.

Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The Second Day

On the second day of my Christmas Holiday my employer gave to me… two glowing branch evergreen trees. Remember to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to receive the final days of the Blog series.

Many cultures from at least as far back as Ancient Egypt and Rome – if not probably far before them as well – have seen the evergreen as something special and sacred and took them into their homes. Many cultures believed they could keep away such things as witches, ghosts, evil spirits and even illness. Celtic Druids would decorate their temples with evergreen boughs to symbolise everlasting life. However, Christmas trees as we would recognise them first began in Germany, with the tradition of candlelit evergreen furs which were brought to America in the 1800s. And made popular on the world stage in 1846 by Queen Victorian and her husband prince Albert.

Because it’s always Queen Victoria.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore / tradition titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season.

Twelve Days of Christmas Folklore & History: The First Day

What Ho wee readers, and a Merry December month to you all.  If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you may be aware that for the last year alongside my writing and blogging, I have been working as a Housekeeper in a Weatherspoon’s hotel. And by extension if you know this you may be aware of just how tired this has left me – in that I never shut up about it, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic I’m currently discussing, I will still manage to slip it in.

This may have left some of you with the impression that I am unhappy with my current day job, which is not true. The work may be hard, but the money isn’t bad for what it is, and I get a free meal on every shift – see this post for proof of that. So, all in all Wetherspoons is a very decent employer.

And I can say all of this with complete sincerity now that I’m getting a holiday.

That’s right for nine days this december – starting today in fact – I will be taking my Christmas holidays. And for eight of those nine days I’m even getting paid for it – happy dance, happy dance happy dance.

So to celebrate this momentous occasion for each day of my holidays I will be releasing one blog post dedicated to the traditions, rituals and beliefs built up around the holiday of Christmas. All in all there will be twelve, like the song, with the last few being released at the end of december in the Wee Mailing List. Remember to sign up if you want to hear how the blogs end.

I think we should get started, don’t you?

So sing it with me Wee Readers.

On the First Day of my Christmas Holidays my employer gave to me…a fat man in a round chimney.

Well let us begin with the big man himself…Santa Claus. While there have been more than several gift giving figures throughout the span of our written human history, and probably even more before that, it is highly likely that this particular figure was first born through the merging of such Christian gift givers like St. Nicolas – an actual historical figure – with the mythical Father Christmas who dated back to at least the 16th century. And who personified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas. After which he was renamed Santa Claus – an anglicized variation of the Dutch figure Sinterklaas – and lost his bishop ropes.

Poems like “Twas the Night Before Christmas” would canonise much of the Santa Clause lore we’re all familiar with. Reindeer, the sleigh full of toys, and the like.

However, there were still a lot of different variations in regards to Santa’s physical appearance, including but in no way limited to a tall gaunt man, an elf, there were even variations that were sinister in appearance. However, in 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned Haddon Sundblom to create a Santa image for their Christmas Adverts; and inspired by the aforementioned poem, the illustrator depicted a happy fat man, with rosy cheeks, a human face and twinkly eyes.

Thus, the most popular and long-lasting image of Santa Clause was cemented.

While I’m certain there is a lot more history to this, including something to do with Odin I’m not entirely sure what – this is a short blog post so I’ll stop here. If I’ve missed anything out, or made any mistakes that you can see tell me in the comments. It’s why I have them after all.

If you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Folklore titbit, why not Follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And remember to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, TikTok, Kofi and Facebook. Until Next time Wee Readers, have a very bonny day and a very merry Holiday season.

The Top 4 Adventures I had on my Holiday

Great now that we have measured and ranked the food – now it is time to move on to the rest of the Holiday. And by that I mean of course, the rest of the holiday that I took pictures of – because you know the old saying, if there’s no photo it didn’t happen. We will begin our tale of Adventure up the cold roads of Scotland with a bowl of chili.

1: The First Adventure

The Prodigal Chili Returns

If you’ve read my previous post you already know how much I loved the Chili at Kristie’s Garden Centre – which was our first stop on our elustrius road trip towards the highlands of Scotland – so I won’t wax poetical about it here. I’ll just say that it was the best chili I’ve ever had at a restaurant…of any kind.

Teapots Galore!!!

Before we move on, my wee readers, I would just like to draw your attention up to the walls of Kristie’s Garden Center’s Restaurant. You may find yourself asking if what you are seeing is real. And yes, yes you are indeed seeing more novelty teapots than any person – not possessed of some kind of magical power – could count. So, want to show off you magic chops? Then comment down below with your guesses. Winner gets a Scottish Macaroon.

And now, my wee Readers, we take our first tentative steps into the Highlands of Scotland. Well, technically I didn’t step into the Highlands, I sat in a car and listened to awesome music. But…the view’s pretty spectacular never the less.

Finally a quick stop off at Logie Steading for tea and a look round the second hand bookshop. Before we reach our country lodge/ timeshare and our journey comes to an end.

2. The Highland Wildlife Park

Not a hop, skip and a jump from our timeshare stands The Highland Wildlife Park. Containing what was sure to be some of the most exciting animals ever to be seen on Scottish shores -or at least they had better be considering how much we payed to get in.

Look a bear

Behold, the majestic horse I captured (in picture form at least) in front of our car’s window. Yet, to truly be amazed look beyond that, up on the hill to the left of the big rock in front of the fence – it’s a bear. A freaking polar bear!!

Run!!

Behold the mighty Buffalo – one of the few clear photos I managed to take while driving round the Wildlife preserve. I’m just glad he didn’t charge 😁

Long Live the Tiger King

This Tiger was a showoff – always prowling in front of us lowly humans as if to say ‘yes, I could eat you. But I won’t because I like the attention. So come on, where’s my close up maggots?’ Wow that kind of got intense…moving on.

3: Cairngorms

This statute is to comenarate twenty years of the Cairngorm ski slopes – I think. To be honest I got so distracted by the statue that I forgot to look at the information underneath.

I’m especially proud of this photo – I took it just outside of the Cairngorm’s restaurant, where we had a particular nice bowl of chips and lentil soup.

Look at this one – can you even tell it was taken in modern day? Okay, you probably can but just turn off your brain for a second and pretend.

4: The Fun Garden at Brodie Castle

The Fun Garden at Brodie Castle is a strange experience. It’s made up like Alice in Wonderland – although I don’t remember any unicorns in Wonderland. But correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never read the books.

We start by going down the rabbit hole

Marked by its very own GIANT BUNNY – there are no words for how awesome that is 😂

Our first stop in the Fun Garden is the miniature of Brodie Castle, which can make you feel like a giant when you stand inside it.

Then a step round the black and white spinning Teacups.

Then we take a turn near the giant’s table and chair. If you close your eyes and listen you can just hear his voice in the distance: ‘Fe Five For Fun, I smell the blood of a Scottish man.’ Joke’s on him, I’m not a man

Finally, our journey comes to an end with a glimpse of Brodie castle, leaving us feeling very small indeed.

Well, that’s the end of it my Wee Readers – thank you for your patience during the many days, weeks, years it took to complete this post. If you enjoyed this parade of holiday memories check me out on Instagram or follow me on Twitter. Until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

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The Top 7 Vegan Meals I had on Holiday

Well I’m back, my Wee Readers. After 7 days up in the Cairngorm National Park staying at one of the Hilton Hotel’s Timeshares, I have returned with photos, and ideas for blog posts galore. Now, you may be asking yourself, if she had such a spectacular time up in the Highlands…why is she just talking about the food she ate? Well, that could be for one of two reasons.

Reason One: I’ve actually got several blog posts planned, and I’m starting with this one because I’m very tired from my holiday, and it was the easiest to write.

Or Reason Two: My mind has only three modes – Writing, Reading, and Eating, repeat when necessary.

Decide for yourself which sounds more plausible to you .

7. Five Bean Chili in a Baked Potato

We start this onslaught of vegan food-porn with a stop to Christies Garden center situated in the town of Fochabers .  They actually had an entire vegan menu, meaning we could each choose something different –  which for someone who was raised vegan in the North of Scotland, and now lives a good hour away from the more exciting Vegan Restaurants – is still a relatively novel concept. We got to eat different things from each other – and they weren’t all just different forms of chips!!

6. New Vegan Subway Sandwich

Mmmm…subway.

Subway has Vegan Sandwiches now! Subway has Vegan Sandwiches now! Eeeeeh! Sorry, sorry I blacked out with the joy of it. This Sandwich consisted of tomatoes, red onions, pickles, cucumbers, sweetcorn, some kind of nut fillet (but to be honest I’m guessing with that particular filling, I don’t actually know what it was); and my favorite, the jalapenos. I love jalapenos – the more feeling I loose in my tongue the better.

5. Pizza Express Frozen Pizza

I’m gonna get so Fat.

Behold the ever elusive creature that is the Vegan Frozen Pizza – rarer still to have a well known brand stamped on the box. I love this new vegan explosion of choice, I have so many more unhealthy things to eat than when I was growing up. I’m going to get so fat just because I can now !

4. Strawberries & Raspberries

It’s good to be home.

Picked fresh at the Findhorn Foundation – these juicy morsels of fruit are the perfect welcome home from a house that missed us dearly. Now, am I implying that the berries  were lying out like that for us when we got home? That my house has somehow reached sentience enough to go shopping? Don’t be silly, I’m not insane – where would a house possibly buy berries from?

3. Chips & Beans from the Happy Haggis

Chips, Chips, Wonderful Chips!

These chips were pretty delicious considering they were bought from a restaurant that I’m fairly certain was chosen purely for its name. Admittedly ‘The Happy Haggis’ is a very hard name to turn away from, and we’re Scottish – we know what a Haggis really is. That’s about it, I mean what else can I say, they were chips – awesome chips, but its not like they were a Five Bean Chili or anything. Speaking of…

2. Five Bean Chili, but this time with rice.

Chili with Rice!!!!

Run!! It’s the Return of the Five Bean Chili!!!! You may be asking yourself why this portion of Five Bean Chili gets its own allotted space instead of just squeezing in with its predecessor? Could it be that despite coming from the same restaurant, and going down the same gullet, one was widely inferior to the other? Particularly because one of them had been served with a side of coleslaw, because our server hadn’t really been listening when we asked for the Vegan option. I don’t mean to sound bitter, but it cannot be denied that the Chili that came with the side of rice was superior to the one that rode in on a bake potato. Also there was more of it for some reason.

1. Vegan Veggie Breckfast

Best Breakfast Ever!

And finally we reach the end of this little list of vegan gluttony with, what was hand to god, one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. The Mountain Cafe located in the town of Avimore boasts an impressive array of vegan items on its menu. However if you’re in the area I recommend you stop in for Breakfast; whether it was the spectacular Potato rosti, or the the hash brown balanced on top of it; the sausage, the tomatoes or even the bake beans, the Veggie Breakfast is the most delicious thing you will ever taste. I don’t know how you make bake beans taste that good, or even significantly different from all other bake beans, but somehow they managed it. And the Mushrooms, oh my God, the Mushrooms…there are no words to describe the mushrooms.

Well that’s the end of it – wow, this took much longer than I thought it would. If you’re interested you can find these photos and many more like them from my holiday, up on Instagram. Or check me out on twitter to follow the procession there. I do have two more holiday related posts planned, but we’ll see how long those take – so, as always my wee readers until next time, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com