Thursday, 19 December 2013

A mysterious festive tradition

There are many wonderful festive traditions that have stood the test of time, the most obvious being the kind act of gift giving. Although the exchanging of gifts at Christmas is still customary today, it seems that in St Andrews in the not-so-long-ago past, Hogmanay was also a time to look forward to for local children.

As the photograph shows, children would visit local shops and receive gifts in a tradition called ‘cake day’. We believe that this photograph was taken outside of Birrell's grocery store at 89 South Street (now a restaurant called 'Zizzi'). Unfortunately, there is no further information about ‘cake day’ - does anyone know what date this fell on? One would assume it to be New Years Day but, as far as I am aware, most stores are closed on the 1st of January. I wonder if 'cake day' happened in other towns? It would be nice to find out more information about cake day as it is such a lovely tradition that now, sadly, appears to be lost to us.

1 comment:

  1. New Years Eve, (Oidche nam Bannag) is the Night of the Bannocks. This translates into Cake Day, which is used still in America, and derived from baking a rich fruit cake, a precursor to black bun. However there is a long tradition as medieval cakes were given out on Twelth Night (6th Jan as the 26th Dec was start of the 12 days). One of the cakes would have a bean hidden inside and the finder would become King or Queen of the Bean and get to preside over the hilarity for the day. No wonder the Scots called it the Daft Days!