Whuppity Scoorie Day

I'm sorry I'm a bit late in mentioning this. Apparently in parts of Scotland there's a cute little holiday called Whuppity Scoorie Day. It's celebrated from March 1 to March 7. I'd not heard of it until today when I read about it on Wikipedia. Here's the link to that page.

This is the gist of the article from Wiki:

Whuppity Scoorie is a traditional festival dating from the early 19th century observed by people in Lanark, Scotland on March 1 to celebrate the approach of spring. Local children gather around the local St. Nicholas kirk (Kirk can mean "church" in general or "The Church of Scotland" in particular) where at 6 pm the bell is rung. This is the starting sign for the children to run around the church in a counterclockwise direction, making noise and swinging paper balls on strings above their heads as they run. After three laps, the kids scramble for coins thrown by members of the Community Council who host the event.

While the origins of Whuppity Scoorie are shrouded in mystery, there are several theories which try to explain how the ancient custom evolved. The most common theory is that Whuppity Scoorie came from a pagan festival that was intended to celebrate spring and frighten off winter or evil spirits. Others believe it marks the time when days got longer allowing curfews to be lifted or changed so children could play outside longer. Another theory connects the event with an ancient religious penance in which the penitents were whipped three times round the church and afterwards "scoored" - washed - in the nearby River Clyde. The celebration could also have been instituted to remember the murder of William Wallace’s wife.

The tradition was first mentioned in a local newspaper, The Hamilton Advertiser, around the mid-19th century. It was still called the "wee bell ceremony" suggesting a link with the ringing of the church bell. In 1893, the Advertiser first referred to "the custom known as Whuppity Scoorie" which simply became "Whuppity Scoorie" the next year. The three laps around the church were also first mentioned in 1893, although the writer claimed this custom was 120 years old by then. The Advertiser also reported on how the local boys in those days rolled up their caps and tied them with string. After the bell rang, they would march to New Lanark where they would fight the boys coming in the opposite direction. By 1880, it was not uncommon for stones to be thrown, so the police posted men along the road between the villages to keep order.

Isn't it amazing the stuff you can find out on Wikipedia? I look on there for interesting things to read almost every day.


Anonymous said…
That is so interesting! I love learning about cultural traditions and histories.

Ari (Baking and Books)
Pearl said…
Happy Whuppity Scoorie!
Bob-kat said…
I've never heard of this day! Mind you, here in the Uk we have lots of traditions, the meaning of which are lost in the misys of time.

Hi from Michele's.
Carmi said…
I love the language they use in Scotland. It's so much richer than the watered-down English we seem to have here.

Where else can you use the word "whuppity" in a conversation? It's priceless.

I love Wikipedia, too. I often use it to initiate research and give me a direction on a new-to-me topic. I fear overreliance on it, however, because its infrastructure has been exposed as horribly easy to violate and corrupt.

I guess that's the best we can hope for on a publicly-editable platform such as this one. The input of the collective is bound to have a few warts.

Still, reading Wikipedia reminds me of those long Sunday afternoons I used to spend skipping through my encyclopedia. Such learning and growth...
Michael Manning said…
That is a curious sort of thing, Utenzi. Not that I see anything too weird about it. Just kind of different. Thanks for sharing! Gives me something to ponder now!!
kenju said…
So, happy Whuppity Scoorie to you too!
srp said…
Well, there are libraries full of books, full of things that I don't know. So... Happy Belated Whuppity Scoorie Day!
AverageMom said…
Thanks for visiting my blog today, Utenzi! You're right, it's very much like training a puppy. A cute, snuggly, lovable puppy that just won't stop destroying the house!
Yaeli said…
My mind boggles at how much interesting yet completely redundant stuff you manage to find online Dave!
Karen said…
Whuppity Scoorie Day sounds fun!

Anything to welcome spring is fun!

btw, Michele sent me. :+)
I'd be up for a pilgrimage next year to see this in action. Anyone else?

Pretty cool stuff, utenzi. Thanks for digging it up and sharing -- and for visiting West of Mars. I hope you'll come back!

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