Scottish Term Day

From Academic Kids

Scottish Term Days were the "quarter days" especially relevant to the people of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Like the English Quarter Days, they were the four days dividing the legal year, when rent and interest on loans, and ministers' stipends were due, and when servants were hired and paid. Also on these days contracts and leases would begin or end.

The Term Days were Whitsun and Martinmas. Together with Candlemas and Lammas they constituted the Quarter Days.

Candlemas, on 2 February, was originally the feast of the Purification, or the Presentation of Christ. This was celebrated in pre-Reformation times by candlelit processions.

Whitsun was originally the feast of Pentecost, around which a great many christenings would occur, so it became associated with the colour white. In Scotland the legal Term Day of Whitsun was fixed on 26 May (Julian Calendar). This translated to 15 May in the Gregorian Calendar at the time of the adoption of the new calendar (1752).

Lammas was celebrated on 1 August. This was the day the first fruits of the harvest were offered, the name coming from the Anglo-Saxon for 'loaf-mass' or 'bread-feast'.

Martinmas, on 11 November, was originally the feast of Saint Martin of Tours a 4th century bishop and hermit.

In Scotland, 1886 saw the term dates for removals and the hiring of servants in towns changed to 28 February, 28 May, 28 August and 28 November. The original dates are now referred to as Old Scottish Term Days. The dates were regularised by the Term and Quarter Days (Scotland) Act 1990.


External Links

Term and Quarter Days (Scotland) Act 1990 (http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900022_en_1.htm)

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