What is so special about the 11th of January in Scotland? Well, on this day, The Burning of the Clavie takes place. This ceremony was once declared as ‘superstitious, idolatrous and sinful’ and ‘an abominable heathenish practice’ but has since become an integral part of Hogmanay. In this blog post, we will aim to enlighten you on some of the history surrounding this festival and suggest some of our products which make a perfect pairing for an evening filled with fire.

What is The Burning of the Clavie? 

On the 11th of January every year, a wooden barrel is filled with tar and pieces of wood and mounted on a pole. This is then set alight and paraded through the streets of Burghead, a small village on the north coast of Scotland. A large procession of onlookers gathers to accompany the flaming ‘clavie’ to its final destination, an ancient altar where it is left to burn itself to ash and cinders. 

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

The Burning of the Clavie’s Origin Story

The origins of this ceremony are still unknown, however, many believe that it has Pagan origins. The ritual celebrates the original New Year’s Day which took place on 12th January in the old Julian calendar. This calendar was replaced with the revised Gregorian Calendar by the Catholic church in the 1750s. Many saw this as an attempt to quash the few remaining Pagan rituals and thus the residents of Burghead took it upon themselves to make sure The Burning of the Clavie lived on for many centuries to come.

New Years Eve Take 2

Essentially this day presents itself as an opportunity to have a second New Years Eve and some view it as a chance to celebrate the official end of Hogmanay. All of this fiery joviality is thirsty work, to finish off your evening in style we have some delicious recommendations for you. 

Celebrate the best that Scotland has to offer with our Scottish Traditional Feast Hamper. It comes filled with an abundance of traditional treats including Scotch Whisky, Elderflower Wine, Haggis, Smoked Salmon, Berries Chocolates and many more Scottish delights and delicacies.

Our Hearty Hamper is guaranteed to quell any ravenous appetite brought on by the fiery celebrations. Its succulent selection of Scottish produce includes Rannoch Smokery Roast Beef and Scottish Venison as well as smoked cheese, pickle and chutney and a sweet treat of Belgian dark chocolate tiffin.

Our carefully selected range of Scottish whisky will make the perfect nightcap. The  richly flavoured Glendronach Allardice Aged 18 Years Whisky has notes of sweet fudge and muscovado sugar which marry beautifully with the remarkable flavours of stewed fruits and all-spice.

We hope this has shed some light onto the uniquely Scottish tradition, The Burning of the Clavie. Find more of our gourmet Scottish Hampers here and our exquisite selection of Scottish food and drink can be discovered here.

I will leave you with this delightful poem by Mary Harding that illustrates the raucous atmosphere that is conjured up on the eve of January 11th.


Post By Rosie Burnman

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