Although many of my books take place in the United States, sometimes I include characters from Scotland. Scots celebrate holidays a little differently, especially in centuries past. One such celebration is called HOGMANAY.
When I first heard of it I thought of pigs. Wrong! it is simply what Scots call the last day of the year, what we all call New Year’s Eve. Some scholars believe this to have its roots in ancient times when Nordic tribes acknowledged the Winter Solstice, the Vikings enjoyed The Yule, and many Scots celebrated Samhain. Roots are important, but for people of the world welcoming in the year 2020, whether you do it with the bang of fireworks or the clink of glasses of whisky, enjoy the season…
I recently returned from my family’s whirlwind trip to volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH. This Scottish gathering of the clans and athletic competitors is an annual event, and the largest in New England. We help descendants remember their Scottish roots. Speaking of dead people…
Scotland is a lovely country. The hills, moors, and deep-water lochs are beautiful, but unexplained observations such as thunder, lightning, and the movement of planets, are the basis of many Scottish folktales. These word-of-mouth explanations have changed with the frequency of their telling which is why one myth could have many different descriptions or endings.
Fairies, brownies, and Scottish bogles are believed to live across the land.The distinctive features of Scottish folklore are filled with the characteristics of Scotland’s varied scenery. Serene mountain lochs, tiny creeks, the harsh splendor of the mountains, and the solitude of the moor. These are all reflected in their folk tales and myths. Mine, too, including my Clan of DragonsSeries.
Clan of Dragons series by Nancy Lee Badger. Find all Buy Links HERE
p.s. my son, Eric Badger, modeled for the 3 covers on the right!
Whether you can enjoy a local Highland gathering, or have the $$ to travel to Scotland, enjoy. Slainte!
I’ve been doing some more formatting this month. Just Within a Highland Mist, a Highland Gardens novella, the fifth tale in the series is now available at Apple and Kobo.
Fae pixies are meddling with Gregor’s heart…
At the garden archway, he slipped her hand into his and entered first to ensure naught was awry. He’d vowed to keep her safe.
“Oh, this is lovely,” she said as they traversed the path through the garden beds filled with vegetables and herbs to the rose garden, where he seated her on the turf bench, abloom with small, fragrant white flowers. The gentle scent was heady. As was her beauty.
“I owe you an apology,” she said.
He frowned. “Whatever for?”
“For not believing your story about the pixies.”
“I guess ’tis hard to believe in something you have never seen.”
“I saw one last night.”
Her admission made his brows rise. “You did?”
“Yeah. In my room, while I was bathing. Before you came. She wore a purple gown and had sheer lavender wings. Like that one there.” Emily pointed to a dragonfly-like creature perched on a shiny rose leaf.
He held out a hand and the ebony-haired pixie jounced onto his palm.
Tee teehee hee. Tee teehee hee. Tee teehee hee.
The wee creature’s voice tinkled like the sweetest chimes.
“Here is another!” Emily leapt to her feet and held out a hand. A blonde pixie with green wings landed on an outstretched finger. “This one has iridescent peridot wings.”
Gregor brought his hand closer to his face for a better look at the one he held.
Emily did the same with hers. “Hello,” she murmured.
Tee teehee hee. The pixies giggled again, before blowing dust into their faces. Then with more giggles, they flew away, high over the garden wall.
Emily and Gregor sneezed in unison, and then dropped onto the bench, overcome with laughter. Tears of merriment streamed from both their eyes.
I recently attended two very different Scottish Highland Games – one in New Hampshire and the other in Georgia. Both these USA-based gatherings had one thing in common…kilts in a wide variety of Tartans.
A Tartan is a plaid of certain colors that pertain to a clan or family that have traced their roots to Scotland. Many ‘Ancient’ tartans, or plaids, have muted colors. Before weaving, the original homemakers of the early centuries dyed the wool strands by using bugs, berries, grasses, and the like. Today’s tartans are more brilliant and though most are still woven of wool with a multitude of pleats at the back, others are made in solid colors of waterproof duck or soft cotton blends. Many of these have wider and fewer pleats and even add-on pockets. Some choose a military branch’s specific pattern.
Whatever a person chooses to wear, these men, women, marching band members and even performing musicians wear their plaids with pride. Here is a link to a video of one of favorite groups, Albannach, who played at the September 2018 NH Highland Games https://youtu.be/uENuWEoFwOk Listening to them was a pleasure!
Other sites, including the kilted athletes, were not to be missed. I am glad we were able to attend both and I gained quite a few plot ideas for future books!
Beltane, the Celtic May Day, officially begins at moonrise on the eve before the 1st day of May. It marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. For centuries, Scotland’s Celtic people celebrated the day as the coming of spring. Before driving cattle into the hills, many would hope to ensure a healthy herd by running them between the Belfires to protect them from ills. This practice dates back to the Druids. When the Christian church took over the Beltane observances by holding services in church, the parishioners would follow the clergyman to the fields to light the fires.
Branches of a tree that grows all over Scotland is hung over the hearth in homes. The rowan tree is mentioned several times in my latest time travel romance, My Hunted Highlander. Scottish marriages of old, called handfastings, were traditional at this time. This holiday is still a time of fertility and harvest. It is a time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that the Celts have sown. For a slightly sexy custom: the flowers and greenery, usually accompanied by colorful ribbons, are worn by women to symbolize the Goddess. The May Pole represents the God (fertility, anyone?)
Whether you decorate your home with a rowan branch, wear a ribbon headdress, dance around a May Pole, or light bonfires to acknowledge that spring is finally here, please take a moment to read my book.
My Hunted Highlander is my 6th book in this genre, and the first one where I add a pirate ship, the crew, and their captive. Research showed me there were indeed privateers plying the North Sea of Scotland…at least during the warmer months. The English chased them northward, at times, and I took the liberty of mentioning that the English decimated my pirate’s home base.
A short Excerpt from My Hunted Highlander
“I want to bring ye pleasure, to show ye what a man can do with his mouth, and his tongue,” Niall said.
“Only his mouth and tongue?” Blair asked.
The flame of a nearby oil lamp made Blair’s eyes sparkle. Did she mean to tease him with words? “I am quite capable of pleasing a woman, without impaling her with my cock.”
At the shock of Niall’s words, her mouth opened wide, giving him a chance to demonstrate what his mouth and tongue could do for her.
Find Buy Links for this book and all my books HERE
Scottish Highland Games are near and dear to me, and I have used my visits and volunteer ‘work’ as the catalyst to creat my various books based at the games. At the fictional New England Highland games, my characters work the vendor tents, cook the Scottish foods such as meat pies, bridies, or shortbread, serve the beer and whisky, and try their prowess at various athletic events.
Watching the pipe bands strut their stuff is enjoyable and I would like to share a video I took of the massed bands marching together to the tune of Scotland the Brave. These bands are from all over the USA, Canada, and Scotland and never practiced together before showing off their marching skills.
Video by Nancy Lee Badger
See all my books set at Highland Games here and in ancient Scotland by visiting my Blog <BOOK> page HERE
…and here are a few photos from the 2014 New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival: