Dumfries & Galloway Poet Pens A Celebration To The ‘Daft Days’: The Original, Scottish 12 Days Of Christmas

Lidl is kicking off the Christmas countdown in true Scottish style, by unearthing a forgotten Scots phrase – ‘dafts days’.

Originally made famous by 17th century Scots poet, Robert Fergusson, the phrase described the fun, frivolity and merriment of the twelve days that run between Christmas and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

To help Dumfries & Galloways residents reconnect with this little-known aspect of Scottish Christmas culture, Lidl has commissioned local poet, Stuart Paterson, to pen his own homage to the ‘daft days’ using the Southern Scots dialect.

The Scottish public recently voted Paterson their ‘Scots Writer of the Year’ at the 2020 Scots Language Awards, in recognition of his work which includes the popular children’s book – ‘A Squatter O’Bairn Rhymes’.

Paterson’s ‘daft days’ poem is an ode to the region – from getting the Christmas shopping in, in Lockerbie to opening up the advent Locharbriggs – it captures a snapshot of everyday life and festive fun in homes across Dumfries & Galloway.

To help local school children discover Southern Scots, Paterson will host a virtual poetry workshop with pupils from Dumfries Academy, where the next generation of bards will pen their own poems celebrating the ‘daft days’.

Stuart Paterson said: “This is a great way of helping today’s Scots rediscover part of our culture that’s at risk of being forgotten. When Robert Fergusson wrote ‘The Daft Days’ in 1772, it was eight years before the world-famous carol; which absolutely makes it the original, Scottish version of the ‘twelve days of Christmas’.
“From Stranraer to Sanquhar, my poem is an ode to Dumfries & Galloway and what the festive season means to me and to us all I think – family, friends and, of course, fun, especially now.”


(Stuart Paterson says: “Whit an awfy braw wey tae mind Scots o oor ain culture! We shouldnae let geed Scots traditions be forgot aboot like sae mony are stertin tae be. Robert Fergusson’s ‘The Daft Days’ fae 1772 wis written afore the famous carol ‘The Twelve Days o Christmas’ sae it aw stertit here!


“Fae Stranraer tae Sanquhar, ma poem’s fir Dumfries an Gallowa itsel an whit this time o the year means tae me an tae us aw here – faimily, freens an haein fun, especially noo.”)


Ross Millar, Lidl’s Regional Director for Scotland, said:This project has certainly been an education for us all; uncovering the origins of ‘daft days’ – the original, Scottish twelve 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.”

Dumfries & Galloway 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 Lidl’s 104 Scottish stores which includes a fun activity for kids to try their hand at writing a Scots poem at home. Available from 10th December.

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