(2 February 2006) was Candlemas, the first of the Scottish Quarter Days.
It was traditionally the day that pupils used to give gifts to their
schoolmasters – originally peat for heat or candles for light but this
in time became siller or a cockerel.
was originally a festival for the return of Spring held by the Romans in
honour of Februa, the daughter of Mars. They carried torches through the
city on February the first (the same date which was celebrated by the
Celts as the first day of Spring). This festival was Christianized as
the Purification of the Virgin Mary and was held on February the second.
In medieval Scotland it was a day of pageants, processions and religious
plays in honour of Our lady, as we can see from the Burgh Records of
Aberdeen for 30 January 1505 –
provest and baillies statut and ordanit that the said craftsmen and
thair successoris sal in order to the Offering in the Play pass twa and
twa togedir socialie; in the first the flesheris, barbouris, baxteris,
cordinaris, skineris. Couparis, wrichtis, hatmakeris and bonatmakaris
togider; walcaris, litstaris, wobstaris, tailyeouris, goldsmiths,
blaksmithis, and hammermen; and the craftsmen sal furnyss the Pageants.’
the North-East comes a rhyme to help us fix the date of Easter
(alternatively just contact Jim Lynch!) –
comes Cannlemas and syne the new meen,
The neist Tyesday efter that is Festern’s Een;
That meen out and the neist meen’s hicht,
And the neist Sunday efter that’s aye Pace richt.’
As this is
being compiled on a cranreuch caul day prior to Candlemas, it is too
early to know the outcome of the bittie Scottish weather lore which goes
Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.’
the weather has more than a nip in the air, the recipe this week is
designed to heat us all up! Leek and Tattie Soup is just the ticket.
six potatoes, diced; 3 leeks, chopped; 1 ¼ pints (750 ml) chicken
stock; salt and pepper to taste; 1 ounce (25 g) butter; 2 ounces (50 g)
grated cheddar cheese
Method: Boil the potatoes and leeks for about 15 minutes until
the potatoes start to disintegrate. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Work in the butter and serve with sprinkling of grated cheese.