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Christmas daft days are celebrated in Doric

By Kyle Ritchie

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A supermarket retailer is kicking off the Christmas countdown in true Scottish style by unearthing a forgotten Scots phrase – daft days.

Originally made famous by 17th century Scots poet, Robert Fergusson, the phrase described the fun, frivolity and merriment of the 12 days that run between Christmas and January 5.

To help people in the north-east reconnect with this little-known aspect of Scottish Christmas culture, Lidl has commissioned Aberdeen-based poet, Jo Gilbert, to pen her own homage to the daft days in Doric.

Gilbert’s ballad is an ode to the Christmas and Hogmanay countdown, championing everyday Doric words and phrases like bosie, fly cup and baffies.

An advocate of the Doric dialect, Gilbert launched Aberdeen’s first Doric Poetry Slam in 2019, in a bid to get more people, from all backgrounds, speaking in Aberdeenshire’s native tongue.

Poet Jo Gilbert has paid homage to the Christmas daft days with a poem in Doric.
Poet Jo Gilbert has paid homage to the Christmas daft days with a poem in Doric.

She said: “Ma poem is a fun an lecht-herted tribute tae a typical Aiberdeenshire Christmas.

"Doric is weel placed tae capture the spirit o iss; nae tae mention ivryday occurrences like pairs o baffies, cosy jammies an treatin yersel tae a fly cup and a wee bit shortbreed.

“I’m an affa proud Doric spikker an I'm sae chuffed tae be playin a wee pairt in keepin scrieved an spoken Doric gan.”

The first part of Jo Gilbert's poem.
The first part of Jo Gilbert's poem.
The poem's second part.
The poem's second part.

North-east shoppers are being encouraged to pick up a Lidl Book of Big Adventures, in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, from any one of the retailers 104 Scottish stores.

It includes a fun activity for kids to try their hand at writing a Scots poem at home and is available from December 10.

Lidl’s regional director for Scotland Ross Millar said: “This project has certainly been an education for us all; uncovering the origins of daft days – the original, Scottish 12 days of Christmas.

“Our aim at Lidl is to celebrate all that makes Scotland unique, from food to culture. Daft days really is at the heart of Scotland’s festive season and we’re incredibly proud to celebrate this.”

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