Monday, March 28, 2016

A Few Easter Traditions In Scotland

Some Easter traditions or customs observed in Scotland.

Easter Eggs

The custom of giving eggs at the time of the Spring Equinox was known to the early Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Gauls and many other people. This ancient fertility symbol was adapted by early Christianity in connection with the miracle of the Resurrection and the Feast of Eggs became attached to the celebration of Easter. In Scotland eggs were also used in the Beltane rites ( 1 May ), and like bannocks, were rolled downhill in imitation of the movement of the sun. In Christian times, the rolling of the egg is supposed to represent the rolling away of the the stone from the tomb of the risen Christ.

The practice of coloring the eggs is also ancient. The Persians dyed theirs red, and still use colored eggs representing the flowers of the field. In Scotland, country bairns used to gather Whin* blossoms  and other growing things with which to dye their eggs. Commercial Easter Eggs seem to dominate now-a-days but it is far more fun for bairns, of all ages, to make the real thing! Eggs are traditionally given out on Easter Sunday and lets revive the practice of rolling your Pasch (Scots for Easter ) Egg. (see

*Whin Blossoms
Hot Cross Buns

There was a festival for "Eastre", a Saxon goddess of fertility, in pre-Christian times which was integrated into the Christian calendar. The date is moveable, because the calculation is based on phases of the Moon. In Scotland, to this day, "hot cross buns" are baked, containing spices and fruit and with a white pastry cross. (See . )

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the UK. The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.
English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow moldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year. (See

An old rhyme sung by children:
"Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
one a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons.
One a penny two a penny,
Hot cross buns!"

Easter Bunny
Rabbits, due to their fecund nature, have always been a symbol of fertility. The Easter bunny (rabbit) however may actually be an Easter hare. The hare was allegedly a companion of the ancient Moon goddess and of Eostre.

Strangely the bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have it's origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 16th Century. The first edible Easter bunnies appeared in Germany during the early 1800s, they were made of pastry and sugar.

In the UK children believe that if they are good the "Easter Bunny " will leave (chocolate) eggs for them.

Deep-Fried Eggs
Deep-fried chocolate Easter eggs are sold around Easter time in Scottish fish and chips shops. The idea was invented in a northeastern Scottish takeaway as a sequel to the extremely popular deep fried Mars Bar.


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