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17 Feb 2021

The daft days

A young girl, wearing a Santa hat, sits at a white table, writing. Craigievar Castle and a shaped yew tree can be seen through the window in the background.
A young girl writes a Christmas poem, with Craigievar Castle in the background
In Scotland, the 12 days of Christmas used to be known as the ‘daft days’. We recently partnered with Lidl and five of Scotland’s top poets to help the nation reconnect with this little-known aspect of Scottish Christmas culture.

Originally made famous by 17th-century Scots poet Robert Fergusson, the phrase ‘daft days’ described the fun, frivolity and merriment of the twelve days that run between Christmas and Twelfth Night.

We felt 2021 needed a fun boost to start it off, so a collective of modern esteemed poets hosted a series of virtual workshops with some schools, where the next generation of bards penned their own poems celebrating the ‘daft days’.

Leading our collective was Scots rising star Len Pennie, who has drawn acclaim for her ‘Scots word of the day’ series.

Fellow ‘daft days’ poets included Stuart A Paterson from Dumfries & Galloway, Jo Gilbert from Aberdeen, Gary Robertson from Dundee and Anne Frater from the Isle of Lewis, who has penned her work in Gaelic.

A young woman with long red curly hair stands in a classroom. Superimposed on the image is a handwritten poem on lined notepaper.
Scots poet Len Pennie

We’ve put together a grid of images that celebrates Scotland in this winter season. Click on the pictures to read the 15 original poems composed by the next generation of bards.

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