Burry Man Day

Burry Man Day

Second Friday in August
The "Burry Man" has appeared on the streets of South Queens ­ bury, West Lothian, Scotland, annually for over 600 years. He wears a headdress made of flowers that completely hides his face, and his body is costumed with a thick mat of teazle burrs and thistles. With a staff in each hand, he walks from house to house without uttering a word. Nevertheless, people address him politely and often offer him money, in return for which he bestows good fortune on their home.
Some say that the ceremonies of Burry Man Day commemorate King Malcolm III's escape from the British, which he accomplished with the aid of a thick covering of burs and flowers. Another theory contends that the Burry Man is a remnant of an old custom connected with the gathering of fair tolls. This theory draws strength from the fact that he appears on the day before Ferry Fair.
CONTACTS:
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 5LR United Kingdom
44-13-1552-7171; fax: 44-13-1248-2901
www.rbge.org.uk
Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board, Edinburgh and Scotland Information Centre
3 Princes St.
Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 2QP United Kingdom
44-84-5225-5121
www.edinburgh.org
SOURCES:
YrFest-1972, p. 53