Laura Burns

Laura is in France on her year abroad from University of Stirling. She is linked with Doune Primary School in Stirling.

Christmas and Scottish Celebrations

Joyeux Noël et bonne année!

Last week the whole primary school worked together to put on a special Scottish celebration. I thought I would share with you what we have done.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, I began rehearsing with the two oldest classes (p5/p6 equivalents) Scottish country dances. I remember at school practising and learning these kinds of dances every single year! Do you have a Christmas party where you learn any dances such as the "gay gordans"/ "strip the willow"? The children had never done anything like this before and so were initially hesitant - especially after hearing the men usually wear kilts, or “jupes” the boys called it!

In France they do not perform a traditional "nativity play" or have a Christmas party. However, within the towns and cities the Christmas markets (Marchés de Noël) are hugely important to the festive season. This is particularly the case in Northern and Eastern France as it borders Germany and Belgium. The "heart" of the Christmas markets are known to be in Strasbourg, a bilingual French city closely bordering Germany. That is why the Christmas markets in Edinburgh are named "German markets". Over December, I have visited the famous Christmas markets in Arras, my town of Bethune, Lille and Brugges, in Belgium. They were all so beautiful, and I made sure to try gauffres from each (considering it’s a food from Belgium, can you guess what they are?). 

The week of our Scottish afternoon, each class made a traditional Scottish cake/ sweet. These included a Dundee cake, shortbread and fruit scones. If you were to choose some traditional French sweets and treats to make/ try what would you choose? So far my favourite is a "tarte aux pommes".

 

The afternoon went very well, the children were even surprised by a kilted piper! Although one child did ask "Est-ce qu'il est ton père?". Overall, the whole school got to be a part of a proper Scottish celebration full of dancing, music and food.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas holiday and a happy new year!

à bientôt

Laura

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