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scottish good luck charms

10 Unique Superstitions the Scottish Still Believe

First-Footing

Still widely practiced across Scotland, the practice of first-footing takes place as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Hogmanay. According to local lore, the first person to walk across your threshold as soon as those bells ring should be a tall, dark man bearing gifts of salt, whisky, shortbread, coal and a black bun – anything less will result in a year of bad luck, especially if you are instead greeted by a blond man bearing an axe. Afterwards, guests of any sex and hair colour may enter your house without consequence to exchange gifts and party the night away.

May Morning Dew

Every morning on the first day of May, women across Scotland set aside their fancy moisturisers to seek out the true elixir of youth – the first May dew. This practice is a remnant of the ancient druidic festival of Beltane, when the pagans used to burn bonfires to honour the sun and ensure another year of plentiful harvests. May dew was considered ‘holy water’ by the druids, and thought to be a source of beauty, vitality and good fortune. Though the practice has waned somewhat in the last few decades (thanks, Botox…), some Scottish women will still rise with the sun to wash their faces with the May morning dew in hopes of a year of fine complexions.

Think the writing's on the wall? Fear not, it's right here: read our guide to the top ten superstitions and customs that the Scots follow to this day

Scottish good luck charm

Ever wondered why a rabbit’s foot is considered a good luck charm? Nope, me neither. However, in a strange way I’m attracted to all kinds of taxidermy stuff. I won’t wear or use it, but I’d like to have it anyway because I’m such a history nerd. On one of my trips to Nottinghamshire (GB) I stumbled upon something even more quirky and apparently a bringer of good luck too.

Lover of all things quirky

Sandra is my partner in crime when it comes to rummaging antique markets. We can browse stalls all day, sipping tea or cider every now and then, and lose the track of time. It was just a few weeks before Christmas last year, a magical time to be on the other side of the Channel, as we drove through Nottinghamshire for a little antiques road trip. I remember one of the sellers vividly. A tall Scottish bloke who sold the strangest things I had seen in days, weeks, months, probably years. I couldn’t help wondering, why was this new to me? I’m a lover of all things quirky but apparently I have had a blind spot for years. Of course, now I know of its existence, I see them everywhere.

Vintage grouse foot brooch

So what is it? You’re looking at Scotland’s version of a lucky rabbit’s foot. A vintage brooch with a grouse foot. Originally worn on kilts, shawls and cloaks and it may have been part of the Highland attire in Victorian times (1837 – 1901). It’s supposed to bring good luck to the wearer – obviously not to the bird – especially on a game hunting trip. In case you never heard of them: grouse are heavily built birds and have legs feathered to their toes. The red grouse is considered a gamebird and is shot in large numbers during the shooting season. Personally, I’m not a fan of hunting animals for so-called pleasure and prefer the birds alive. Grouse are fluffy and cute! I kind of lost myself watching videos of red grouse chicks on YouTube… You’ve been warned. 😉

Favourite souvenir from Scotland

According to the seller it’s been a favourite souvenir since the 1800s. Being a tourist, I had to buy two of them. Because they are vintage – most likely from the 1950s – and not newly made, I don’t actively support animal hunting and do satisfy my thirst for historic jewellery. I went home with a traditional piece and a slightly more modern looking version. I guess the gold tone pin is my favourite. The brooch is formed in the shape of a (grouse) bird’s foot and set with a large orange rhinestone. The other one features a detailed engraving on the top, an grouse actual foot and a small purple rhinestone. Both of them aren’t hallmarked and the stones are far from natural, but as it’s so nicely made and the price was an absolute steal, I had to have them. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know what you think of this quirky find!

Scottish good luck charm Ever wondered why a rabbit’s foot is considered a good luck charm? Nope, me neither. However, in a strange way I’m attracted to all kinds of taxidermy stuff. I won’t ]]>