Best time to go to Scotland

Burning of the Clavie 2020

This Pagan feast may be erased from Gregorian calendar, but not from people'​s minds

Burning of the Clavie in Scotland 2019 - Best Time
Photo by

© RG_IV12

With the introduction of the Gregorian calendar the 11th of January was no longer recognized as a special day of feast, yet stubborn and devoted residents of Burghead village made everything so that their ancient traditions survived. Every year the villagers perform a pagan ritual known as "Burning of the Clavie" on the 11th of January.

Burning of the Clavie in Scotland - Best Season 2020

As night sets in, a wooden barrel is filled up with staves or "clavie" and tar. The so-called "Clavie Crew" compounded exclusively of natives fixes the barrel on a pole, lights it up, and marches it through the town's streets to the ancient altar site, where it burns away to ashes and cinders, which are eventually gathered and brought home to light the first fire in the new year. Moreover, the remnants are sent to the former residents of Burghead who were forced to move out of the village for some reason. Though strangers are not allowed to participate in the procession, spectators are always welcomed.