Prior to the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland, then called Yule (alternative spellings include Yhoill, Yuil, Ȝule and Ȝoull; see Yogh), was celebrated in a similar fashion to the rest of Catholic Europe. Calderwood recorded that in 1545, a few months before his murder, Cardinal Beaton had "passed over the Christmasse dayes with games and feasting".[ citation needed ] However, the Reformation transformed attitudes to traditional Christian feasting days, including Christmas, and led in practice to the abolition of festival days and other church holidays; the Kirk and the state being closely linked in Scotland during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. A 1640 Act of the Parliament of Scotland abolished the "Yule vacation and all observation thereof in time coming". Christmas did not become a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.
The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland broke with the Papacy and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Kirk (church), which was strongly Presbyterian in outlook. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation that took place from the sixteenth century.
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Two Acts of the Estates of Parliament—Act discharging the Yule vacance (2 June 1640)and Act dischargeing the Yule vacance (15 April 1690) — abolished the Yule Vacance (Christmas recess).
The first Act was partly repealed in 1686,when Episcopalianism was briefly in ascendancy within the Kirk.
There have not been bishops in the Church of Scotland since the Restoration Episcopacy of the 17th century, although there have occasionally been attempts to reintroduce episcopalianism.
The second Act was partly repealed in 1712, by the Yule Vacance Act 1711 of the Westminster parliament.
The 1640 Act stated (in Middle Scots):
"... the kirke within this kingdome is now purged of all superstitious observatione of dayes... thairfor the saidis estatis have dischairged and simply dischairges the foirsaid Yule vacance and all observation thairof in tymecomeing, and rescindis and annullis all acts, statutis and warrandis and ordinances whatsoevir granted at any tyme heirtofoir for keiping of the said Yule vacance, with all custome of observatione thairof, and findis and declaires the samene to be extinct, voyd and of no force nor effect in tymecomeing." (English translation: "... the kirk within this kingdom is now purged of all superstitious observation of days... therefore the said estates have discharged and simply discharge the foresaid Yule vacation and all observation thereof in time coming, and rescind and annul all acts, statutes and warrants and ordinances whatsoever granted at any time heretofore for keeping of the said Yule vacation, with all custom of observation thereof, and find and declare the same to be extinct, void and of no force nor effect in time coming.")
Robert Jamieson recorded the opinion of an English clergyman regarding the post-reformation suppression of Christmas:
"The ministers of Scotland, in contempt of the holy-day observed by England, cause their wives and servants to spin in open sight of the people upon Yule day, and their affectionate auditors constrain their servants to yoke their plough on Yule day, in contempt of Christ's nativity. Which our Lord has not left unpunished, for their oxen ran wud, and brak their necks and lamed some ploughmen, which is notoriously known in some parts of Scotland."
Christmas in Scotland was traditionally observed very quietly, because the Church of Scotland – a Presbyterian church – for various reasons never placed much emphasis on the Christmas festival.
Christmas Day only became a public holiday in 1871and Boxing Day in 1974. The New Year's Eve festivity, Hogmanay, was by far the largest celebration in Scotland. The gift-giving, public holidays and feasting associated with mid-winter were traditionally held between 11 December and 6 January. However, since the 1980s, the fading of the Church's influence and the increased influences from the rest of the UK and elsewhere, Christmas and its related festivities are now nearly on a par with Hogmanay and "Ne'erday". Edinburgh, Glasgow and other cities now have traditional German Christmas market from late November until Christmas Eve.
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. It is normally followed by further celebration on the morning of New Year's Day or, in some cases, 2 January—a Scottish bank holiday.
Cromartyshire is a historic county in the Highlands of Scotland, comprising the medieval "old shire" around the county town of Cromarty and 22 enclaves and exclaves transferred from Ross-shire in the late 17th century. The largest part, six times the size of the old shire, is Coigach, northwest from Ullapool. In 1890, Cromartyshire was merged with Ross-shire into the administrative county of Ross and Cromarty. In 1975, the resulting county was combined with Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Sutherland, and parts of Argyllshire and Morayshire to form the Highland council area.
A bank holiday is a national public holiday in the United Kingdom. These are set by the UK parliament in statute law. The term bank holiday is commonly used interchangeably with other public holidays such as Good Friday and Christmas Day, which are held by convention. The term refers to all public holidays in the United Kingdom be they set out in statute, declared by royal proclamation or common law.
A royal burgh was a type of Scottish burgh which had been founded by, or subsequently granted, a royal charter. Although abolished in law in 1975, the term is still used by many former royal burghs.
St Andrews is a town on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Dundee and 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Edinburgh. St Andrews has a recorded population of 16,800 in 2011, making it Fife's fourth largest settlement and 45th most populous settlement in Scotland.
Saint Andrew's Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on 30 November. Saint Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day. It is a national holiday in Romania. Saint Andrew is represented in the New Testament to be the disciple who introduced his brother, the Apostle Peter, to Jesus as the Messiah. He is the patron saint of Cyprus, Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, San Andres Island (Colombia), Saint Andrew (Barbados) and Tenerife.
In the United Kingdom, public holidays are days on which most businesses and non-essential services are closed, although an increasing number of retail businesses do open on some of the public holidays. There are restrictions on trading on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales and on New Year's Day and Christmas Day in Scotland. Legally defined holidays, analogous to "public holidays" in many other countries, are usually called bank holidays in the United Kingdom, but can also be referred to as "public holidays"; strictly, however, "public holidays" refer to "common law holidays", the observance of which derive from custom and practice.
The Parliament of Scotland was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king's council of bishops and earls. It is first identifiable as a parliament in 1235, during the reign of Alexander II, when it was described as a "colloquium" and already possessed a political and judicial role. By the early fourteenth century, the attendance of knights and freeholders had become important, and from 1326 commissioners from the burghs attended. Consisting of the "three estates" of clergy, nobility and the burghs sitting in a single chamber, the parliament gave consent for the raising of taxation and played an important role in the administration of justice, foreign policy, war, and all manner of other legislation. Parliamentary business was also carried out by "sister" institutions, such as General Councils or Convention of Estates. These could carry out much business also dealt with by parliament – taxation, legislation and policy-making – but lacked the ultimate authority of a full parliament.
Jul or jol is the term used for the Christmas holiday season in Scandinavia and parts of Scotland. Originally, "jul" was the name of a month in the old Germanic calendar. The concept of "jul" as a period of time rather than a specific event prevailed in Scandinavia; in modern times, "Jul" is a period of time stretching from mid-November to mid-January, with Christmas and the week up to New Year as its highlight. The modern English yule and yuletide derive from this term.
The Act Anent the demission of the Crown in favour of our Sovereign Lord, and his Majesty's Coronation was an Act of the Parliament of Scotland passed on 12 December 1567. It confirmed the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots, in favour of her son, James VI.
The Education Act 1696 was an Act of the Parliament of Scotland that ordered locally funded, Church-supervised schools to be established in every parish in Scotland. It was passed by the Parliament at Edinburgh on 8 September 1696 in the reign of William II, titled "Act for settling of schools." The act stated that for every parish without a school and paid schoolmaster:
Jul, the Danish Yule and Christmas, is celebrated throughout December starting either at the beginning of Advent or on December 1 with a variety of traditions. Christmas Eve, Juleaften, the main event of Jul, is celebrated on the evening of December 24, the evening before the two Christmas holidays, December 25 and 26th. Celebrating on the eve before the holiday is also used for most other holidays in Denmark.
Black bun, sometimes known as Scotch bun, is a type of fruit cake completely covered with pastry. It is Scottish in origin, originally eaten on Twelfth Night but now enjoyed at Hogmanay. The cake mixture typically contains raisins, currants, almonds, citrus peel, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. It had originally been introduced following the return of Mary, Queen of Scots from France, but its original use at Twelfth Night ended with the Scottish Reformation. It was subsequently used for first-footing over Hogmanay.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the observance of Hogmanay—the Scottish celebration of the New Year—held in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Scotland:
The Rescissory Act, 1661 or Act rescinding and annulling the pretended parliaments in the years 1640, 1641 etc. was added to the Scottish Parliamentary register on the 28 March 1661. At one stroke, it annulled the legislation of 1640–1648, covering the time of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Commonwealth. This parliament was sometimes known disparagingly as the "Drunken Parliament",
An Act of Adjournal is secondary legislation made by the High Court of Justiciary, the supreme criminal court of Scotland, to regulate the proceedings of Scottish courts hearing criminal matters. Now primarily derived from the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, the original power to create Acts of Adjournal is derived from an Act of the Parliament of Scotland of 1672. Before promulgation, Acts of Adjournal are reviewed and may be commented upon by the Criminal Courts Rules Council.
Christmas is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. The main celebration and the exchange of gifts in many families takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24. The Lucia Day is celebrated during Advent, on December 13.