Burnin the Clavie

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The burnin Clavie

Burnin the clavie is an auncient Scots custom still observed at the Brochheid, a fishin clachan on the Moray Firth. The clavie is a banefire o baurels split in twa, luntit on 11t Januar, i.e. the first day o the year by the Julian Calendar. Ane o thae baurels is jyned thegither again by a muckle nail (Laitin clavis; hyne the term, it can be frae Scots Gaelic cliabh, a basket used for holding combustibles, an aw). It is than fillt wi tar, luntit an cairied bleizin roond the veelage an finally up tae a ness upo that staunds the ruins o a Roman altar, locally cried the Douro. It here forms the nucleus o the banefire, that is biggit up o spleet baurels. Whan the burnin tar-baurel faws in pieces, the fowk scrammles tae get a luntit piece that thay uise for tae kinnle the New Year's fire on thair cot hoose hearth. The charcoal o the clavie is collectit an pitten in pieces up the cot house's lums, for tae hinder speerits an witches frae comin doun.

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