16 December 2013

Christmas in Scotland

The Royal Standard of Scotland

Christmas trees, stockings, Santa Claus, gift giving, and nativity scenes are the sights of the Christmas season in the United States, but what are the custom and traditions of other countries?

This year I thought I would take a look at how my ancestors celebrated the holiday season.  What customs and traditions are found in the various countries my ancestors emigrated from?  My paternal great grandfather, David Watt, immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1881.  I wonder what customs he brought with him to celebrate with his family.

If David Watt was to celebrate Christmas in the true Scotland tradition he would have gone to work that day!  It wasn't until 1958 that Scotland recognized Christmas as a holiday.  Before 1958, the Scottish people would go to work, go to church, have a Christmas dinner at home and the children would expect a gift from Santa Claus.

Christmas was known as Nollaig Beag or Little Christmas.  It was a solemn time, one to celebrate the birth of Christ.  The celebrations didn't begin until days later. The real Scotland celebration of the season was Hogmanay on New Year's Eve.  That was the time for a big celebration.

I am thankful that David Watt didn't pass the Scottish tradition of working on Christmas Day down to the family.  I enjoy celebrating Christmas with my family.

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