Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun

Hogmanay

Dec 31

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

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Auld Lang Syne
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Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Thou tuck-shop king! Joy of our gourmand youth! What Days thou marks’t and what blood-curdling nights Nights full of shapeless things, hideous, uncouth; Imp follows ghoul, ghoul follows jinn, pell-mell; Fierce raisin-devils and gay currant sprites Hold lightsome leap-frog in a pastry-hell." ​ ~Invocation to Black Bun, Augustus Bejant, Glasgow University Magazine (1903-1911)

Originally enjoyed on Christmas and Twelfth Night, Black Bun is now consumed year round, but most traditionally on Hogmanay Night. The great Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeill writes: “Black bun is the old Scottish Twelfth Night Cake which was transferred to Hogmanay after the banning of Christmas and its subsidiary festival, Uphalieday, or Twelfth Night, by the Reformers.” So, enjoy your fierce raisin devils and gay currant sprites with impunity - recipe included!

Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun

"Thou tuck-shop king! Joy of our gourmand youth!

What Days thou marks’t and what blood-curdling nights

Nights full of shapeless things, hideous, uncouth;

Imp follows ghoul, ghoul follows jinn, pell-mell;

Fierce raisin-devils and gay currant sprites

Hold lightsome leap-frog in a pastry-hell."

~Invocation to Black Bun, Augustus Bejant, Glasgow University Magazine (1903-1911)

 

The poem, "Invocation to Black Bun," by Augustus Bejant, takes its lead from Robert Burns' "Ode to a Haggis" and definitely commands attention for this richest and darkest of fruitcakes.  Best to recite this stirring poem while stirring up!

Originally enjoyed on Christmas and Twelfth Night, Black Bun is now consumed year round, but most traditionally on Hogmanay Night. The great Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeill writes: “Black bun is the old Scottish Twelfth Cake which was transferred to Hogmanay after the banning of Christmas and its subsidiary festival, Uphalieday, or Twelfth Night, by the Reformers.”

 

In his book Picturesque Notes on Edinburgh (1879) Robert Louis Stevenson fondly paints an evocative scene of Scotland’s capital at New Year, giving us a sense of anticipation for the Hogmanay celebrations, as well as some beautiful descriptions of the treats that were on offer in bakers’ windows in Victorian times.

 

"Currant-loaf is now popular eating in all households. For weeks before the great morning, confectioners display stacks of Scotch bun — a dense, black substance, inimical to life — and full moons of shortbread adorned with mottoes of peel or sugar-plum, in honour of the season and the family affections."

 

Click the picture below for a traditional Black Bun recipe, with the full complement of ingredients including including black treacle, allspice, brandy, black pepper, cinnamon and more!

Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun
Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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