Scottish Easter/Spring Games
Originally published March 2008.
Scottish Easter/Spring Games
Fastern’s E’en this “farewell to meat” before Lent is the closest thing to Mardi Gras or Carnival in Scotland. It was held on Shrove Tuesday, or the last Tuesday before Lent. It was a time to use up fat, butter and meat which was made into beef brose. The day was known variously as Beef Brose, Bannock Night, Brosie, Sautie Bannock Night, Rappy Night, Shriften E’en, and Fastern E’en.
Like Carnival, it was an excuse for having some fun prior to the sacrifices for Lent. Depending on the region, people gathered for activities such as processions of craftsman, games of football or handball which were played in the town streets. In the evening there would be food, drink, music and dancing.
The football games involved two teams of men, sometimes unmarried men against married men, or one craft trade against another. By the 18th century efforts were made to change these sometimes hazardous, no-holds-barred rough and tumble games to less dangerous forms.
“Jedburgh handba” is a mass game and the ball is carried in tempestuous scrambles through houses and shops. The locked crowd of players sway through the streets barricaded windows. It is a free-for-all and all-in and the players are legion. The major, if not the only rule, and it is apparently unwritten, is that injuries should not be inflicted deliberately?
At Duns, in Berwickshire the goals were to get the ball “kirked” or “milled.” One team tried to place the ball on the pulpit of the church, the other in the “happer” of the mill. if the ball reached the mill, the miller rewarded the team with pork and dumplings and dusted their hats with flour. The games were traditionally followed by dances and celebrations lasting into the wee hours. Many towns also had specific fees or donations for the maintenance of the town?s game ball. In Strathern, young couples on their wedding day were expected to give money towards the ball’s upkeep and in other area the money came from local craft guilds.
Fellow Scotsman? Check out some of our products!
- Cast bronze wyvern (dragon) pendant with 18-inch gold finish chain; available in bronze or silver
- Crafted by hand in the USA by savvy jewelry-maker specializing in Viking-age jewelry for added expert authenticity
- Pair this pendant with a torc, torc bracelet, or zoomorphic penannular brooch
- Completely three-dimensional wyvern pendant for a textured effect
Want to make your own donation to The Trevor Project, Click DONATE NOW
- Homespun wool-blend
- Made from 4-6 yards of tartan
- Fully Lined
- Three straps and buckles (no velcro)
- Belt loops
- Made to fit because one size does not fit all
- FREE Kilt Hanger Included
The LGBTQ+ Pride Tartan: A watershed for the modern LGBT movement arose from a series of protests in New York in 1969 and to pay homage to all those involved, this tartan is based on the New York City tartan and incorporates the variety of bright colors used to identify that movement around the world.
- This cast pewter, rampant lion brooch is the perfect accessory to showcase your Scottish heritage while striking fear into the heart of your enemies
- Made from authentic cast pewter by Don McKee, celebrated Celtic craftsman, for added Scottish authenticity and uniqueness
- Measures approximately 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches, subtle enough to make an impression without being overwhelming, but solid enough to hold together a great or ancient kilt
- The rampant lion is a Scottish symbol of strength, valor, and battle victory with its claws raised, ready to strike—it was incorporated into Great Seal of Scotland, which was impressed on all official documents
- Fine-quality black leather kilt strap extenders with chrome buckles come in a pack of three
- Perfect if you’ve experienced a bit of recent “kilt shrinkage” (if you’ve gained a few pounds since the last time you put on your kilt)
- Save money by extending the life of your kilt and avoid the stress on those too-small straps
- Attach to any standard 1¼ inches kilt straps to add (approximately) 5 inches to your kilt straps