This week at Mother/Gamer/Writer we’re celebrating the new sweet & scandalous holiday titles from our friends at Forever/Forever Yours ! Each day we will highlight an author and their novel with interviews, fun facts, excerpts and an EPIC GIVEAWAY on December 20 where you can win 1 of 3 Book Bundles! Be sure to follow along so you can meet these fabulous ladies and win a copy of their novels!
Today’s Featured Author is Sue-Ellen Welfonde! Sue-Ellen is the author of the Historical Romance Series Scandalous Scots, and her recently released novella, Once Upon a Highland Christmas. Today it’s our pleasure to share with you a fun Guest Post from Sue-Ellen! We hope you enjoy this look at Strange & Wonderful Scottish Holiday Traditions.
Once Upon a Highland Christmas by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Series: Scandalous Scots #0.5
Published by: Forever Romance on December 3, 2013
Genres: Adult, Adult Historical, Romance
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
Warrior Grim Mackintosh understands why his friend Archibald MacNab has decreed there be no trace of Christmas in his castle. After a devastating attack destroyed everything-and everyone-in Archie's life, he prefers to stew in his own misery until the holiday passes. But Duncreag has seen enough tragedy. Grim decides to throw a grand Yuletide feast, one that the bards will sing about for years to come, one that will remind his laird how beloved he is. He can't do it alone, though. Grim needs an accomplice . . .
There's nothing Breena O'Doherty won't do for Archie, so she's thrilled to help Grim with his plan. Yet she has a Christmas wish all her own-to win Grim's heart-and this might be her only chance to make it come true. As Breena and Grim work together to bring the joy of the season to the cold, gloomy castle and to the heart of the cantankerous chieftain, an undeniable passion ignites between them. But when a shocking secret about Breena's past comes to light, threatening everything she holds dear, will it ruin Christmas in Duncreag forevermore?
Strange & Wonderful Scottish Holiday Traditions
1. In olden times, Vikings did more than plunder Scotland’s coasts: the lusty, larger-than-life Northmen also introduced Scots to their rollicking Midwinter festival of Yule. The celebrations lasted for days and were filled with feasting, song and dance. Mead flowed freely, the honeyed brew a forerunner of Athole Brose, a rich holiday drink of honey, oatmeal, cream, and whisky. Balefires blazed on the hills to honor and appease the all-powerful sun. Even today, fires are lit in many parts of Scotland, burning so that light can triumph over the long, cold dark of winter, and in reflection of days long past.
2. An early glimpse of Santa Claus can be seen in the Yuletide tradition of Odin racing across the wintry night sky in a horse-drawn chariot. And, yes, he delivered gifts to those deserving, while meting out punishment to the bad.
3. Ancient Yule eventually became the Twelve Days of Christmas, known in Scotland as the Daft Days. All manner of merry was made then, including the naming of a leader, the Lord of Misrule. As at Yule celebrations, much feasting and (raucous) partying accompanied the Daft Days. Divination was hugely popular and special trinkets were added to Yuletide loaves, the bauble giving hints to one’s fortune. Earliest versions of these heavily-spiced breads were made of oats or rye, but flour and fruit were eventually added, heralding what would come to be known as plum pudding.
4. Guisers roamed the land during the festive season. These were people dressed in outlandish disguises, often animal skins and horned masks. They called at homes and inns, expecting food and drink in exchange for a tale or song. Many guisers blackened their faces, the reason for doing so reaching far back into the mists of time: Druids held ritual sacrifices and smeared themselves with ash from these fires as a way to achieve even greater luck.
5. A personal favorite tradition of yore was gifting animals with a special breakfast on Christmas morning. Highlanders wishing to honor their livestock greatly, fed their beasts by hand on this special day. Birds weren’t forgotten, being treated to bundles of oats hung from rowan trees.
Important historical note:
**While Yule, Midwinter Solstice, and Christmas, were celebrated in ancient and medieval Scotland, the Reformation of the sixteenth century viewed the revelry as too pagan and forbid the holiday. It would be many centuries before true Christmas merrymaking resumed in Scotland in the mid-twentieth century, mainly the 1960s.
Join Us Tomorrow For A Fun Top 5 List From Author Debbie Mason & Excerpt From The Trouble With Christmas!