Whuppity Scoorie

Whuppity Scoorie

March 1
On March 1 every year, Lanark's parish church bell rings exactly at 6 p.m., after a four-month silence. As the bell begins to ring, children in this Scottish town parade three times round the church, dangling pieces of string with paper balls attached at the other end. Then they start striking one another with the paper balls in a play fight. Pennies are then tossed to the ground, which heightens the children's enjoyment as they rush to collect them.
One explanation for the origin of this festival is that it can be traced back to pagan times, when people believed that making a great deal of noise would scare away evil spirits and protect the crops from damage. Another is that an English soldier, who once sought refuge in the church from Scottish defender William Wallace (c. 1270-1305) and his men, had to circle it three times before the doors were opened, crying "Sanctuary!" while Wallace's men pursued him, crying "Up at ye!"—the phrase from which festival's name is believed to have derived.
CONTACTS:
Lanark Tourist Information Centre
Horsemarket
Ladyacre Rd.
Lanark, Scotland ML11 7LQ United Kingdom
44-15-5566-1661; fax: 44-15-5566-1143
SOURCES:
FestEur-1961, p. 77
YrFest-1972, p. 129
References in periodicals archive ?
The anarchic Ba' game in Orkney, the Burning of the Clavie in Burghead, Moray, and the Whuppity Scoorie in Lanark all get a good plug.
WHUPPITY SCOORIE STORYTELLING FESTIVAL, times vary.