Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAN'LEMAS, Candlemass, Candlesmass, Candlesmes, Cannlesmas, n. Sc. forms of Eng. Candlemas, February 2, one of the quarter-days in Scotland. The Eng. form is illustrated only in combs. peculiar to Sc. [′kɑnl(z)mɑs, -mɪs, -məs] Sc. 1745  Nairne Peerage Evidence (1873) 38:
At Candlesmass jai viic and fforty seven years [1747, date of a future settlement of accounts].
Abd.(D) 1917  C. Murray Sough o' War (1918) 26:
It's three year by come Can'lemas, as I've gweed cause to min', That Mains's man an' me fell oot, an' focht about a queyn.
Abd. 1929 Old freit (per 4 ):
Gin the birdies sing afore Can'lemas they'll greet as lang aifter.
Hdg. 1701  Records Sc. Cloth Manuf. (S.H.S. 1905) 223:
Orders to delay useing dilligence againest John Hepburne and George Livingtoune untill Candlesmes next.
Lnk. 1938 3 :
In some parts of Scotland it was the custom for the pupils of a school to bar the gates and keep the master out on Candlemas Day. I myself have been “barred out” [c.1880]. The pupils expected — and usually got — a holiday.

Combs.: 1. Candlemas(s) ba', “a football match played on Feb. 2” (Sc. 1898 E.D.D.; Bnff.2 1938); “current 100 years ago” (Arg.1 1938); “still an annual event at Kirkcudbright Academy” (Kcb.9 1938); †2. Candlemas-bleeze, Cannlesmas —, (1) “the gift made by pupils to a schoolmaster at Candlemas; elsewhere, Candlemas Offering . . . at first exacted under the notion of its being applied to defray the expense of kindling a blaze at this season” (Rxb., Slk. 1825 Jam.2; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 113, Cannlesmas — ); see also bleeze-money s.v. Bleeze, n.1, 4; (2) a bonfire on Candlemas evening; given as obs. by Watson in Rxb. W.-B. (1923); †3. Candlemas crown, “a badge of distinction . . . conferred, at some grammarschools, on him who gives the highest gratuity to the rector, at the term of Candlemas” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); †4. Candlemas king, — queen, “the title and honour conferred on the boy who gave the highest gratuity to the schoolmaster at Candlemas: also, the boy who so excelled. Among the girls there was a similar title and honour, viz.: Candlemas Queen” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6; Kcb.1 1938, obs.); 5. Candlemas offering, see Comb. 2. 1. Sc. 1863  R. Chambers Book of Days I. 214:
Another old popular custom in Scotland on Candlemass day was to hold a foot-ball match . . . the Candlemass Ba', as it was called.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
Candlemas ba' = Callants' Ba' (at Jedburgh).
2. (1) w.Dmf. 1903  J. L. Waugh Thornhill 33:
There was a curious school custom in existence for a long time called Candlemas Bleeze. [Last known observance of this custom in Dumfries c.1865 (Kcb.1 1938).]
(2) Sc. 1863  R. Chambers Book of Days I. 214:
Candlemas-bleeze . . . the conflagration of any piece of furze which might exist in their [schoolchildren's] neighbourhood, or . . . of an artificial bonfire.
3. Fif. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 211:
The scholars . . . pay . . . a Candlemas gratuity, according to their rank and fortune, from 5s. even as far as 5 guineas, where there is a keen competition for the Candlemas crown.
4. Fif. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 211:
The [Candlemas] king, i.e. he who pays most, reigns for 6 weeks, during which period he is not only entitled to demand an afternoon's play for the scholars once a-week, but he has also the royal privilege of remitting all punishments.

[O.Sc. candilmes, -mas, candlemes, candelmas, c.1420 (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. candil-, candelmesse. Cf. Icel. kyndilmessa, Ger. licht-messe. Orig. the feast (mass) of the purification of the Virgin Mary, celebrated with a great display of candles.]

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"Can'lemas n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2018 <>



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