The Burning of the Clavie
The Burning of the Clavie, one of northern Scotland's distinctive fire festivals, takes place each year, in Burghead on the Moray Firth coast. It happens on the 11th January and greets the New Year (using the traditional Julian Calendar)
In September 1752, Great Britain moved from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian. The 2nd of September 1752 was, therefore, followed by the 14th September, losing the eleven day difference between Julian and Gregorian calendars. People rioted in order to "get back their lost eleven days". However, in some communities, like Burghead (and Foula part of the Shetland Islands) still observe certain winter festival dates according to the Julian calendar. And, so, the burning of the Clavie marks the start of the new year in Burghead.
The Clavie is a flaming barrel full of staves and it is carried around the town, followed by a large procession. Eventually, the Clavie is brought to the Doorie Hill on the ramparts of the ancient Pictish Fort. It is wedged in place on Clavie stone and after being refuelled it sits there until it burns itself out and falls down the hill. Its smouldering embers are eagerly awaited by the crowd; a piece of the Clavie is said to bring good luck for the coming year. Indeed pieces of the Clavie are sent around the world to exiled Brochers, as natives of Burghead are called.