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15 ancient Scottish superstitions and their origins

Friday the 13th is traditionally thought of as an unlucky day, but what are other superstitions?

Many superstitions date back to pagan times, and, in some form, they’re still around today - just as many other customs from the pre-Christian period have died out. Some of them pop up in everyday conversations - ”touch wood”, for example - while others are still adhered to, unconsciously or otherwise (even if you don’t believe that walking under a ladder will bring bad luck, you’d probably still avoid it; a smashed mirror, as well as bringing seven years of bad luck, would be a pain to clean up). Scotland has a unique set of superstitions - some well known, others less so. Since superstitions exist to give protection to the things we hold dear, a majority of them concern the shielding of family members - especially children - from harm. Here are some of the strangest from ancient Scotland.

Babies were given whisky to ward off evil spirits.

1. Giving whisky to babies

Babies were given whisky to ward off evil spirits.
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After being given their first dram, babies would then be fed a mixture of oatmeal and water to give them strength.

2. Oats and water

After being given their first dram, babies would then be fed a mixture of oatmeal and water to give them strength.
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When leaving the summer pastures on Lammas Day, August 1, to take cattle back to the strath, a small cheese of curds was made from that days milk for luck and goodwill.

3. Lucky cheese

When leaving the summer pastures on Lammas Day, August 1, to take cattle back to the strath, a small cheese of curds was made from that days milk for luck and goodwill.
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To cure a child of teething troubles, it would be given a bannock - a flat, round loaf of bread - to play with until a piece broke off, which would then be fed to them.

4. Teething Bannock

To cure a child of teething troubles, it would be given a bannock - a flat, round loaf of bread - to play with until a piece broke off, which would then be fed to them.
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