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IntroductionExplore the Communities

Section title: Scottish
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References



  A piper at Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in traditional Highland dress

In the winter, when there was less farm work to do, there was more time for dances and house warmings. At these gatherings, Scottish settlers danced traditional Scottish dances such as reels, step dances, Highland dances and squares. Music was provided by a fiddle, mouth organ, jew's harp and, of course, the bagpipes. There were also folk songs and story telling.


Wedding receptions were great fun. The men would compete in contests of strength, running, jumping, throwing and shooting. Dancing and feasting went on all night, until it was time to bring the newlyweds to their honeymoon cabin. During the night, the young couple was serenaded by a group of men playing horns or bagpipes, firing guns or banging on pots and pans -- anything that would make a lot of noise. The men would only leave when they were given a gift of some money.


Similar to other settlers' quilting bees and barn-raisings, the Scots held thickening (also called milling) and stumping "frolics". At thickening frolics, men and women gathered to help prepare cloth for making clothes. They would soak a large length of cloth in water and soap and everyone would help to wring it out. The cloth was placed on a long table where the men and women took hold of it and kneaded it, until the cloth was thickened. Stumping frolics were held to help a farmer clear his land of tree stumps.


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