Tattie Holidays

(26 Posts)
INeedSomeHelp Mon 24-Oct-16 21:28:30

A Spanish colleague asked me the other day why we have a holiday in October in Scotland. He wondered if there was some cultural or religious significance.
I explained to him that traditionally children would be given the time off school to help with the potato harvesting hence the term tattie holidays.
I then turned round to see another colleague (born and raised in Scotland) looking at me in total amazement saying that she's never heard of that before.
I am about 20 years older than her and was raised in mainly rural locations whereas she has always lived in a city but I wasn't sure which of these made the difference.
But please someone tell me this is true and not one of those things that my Mum made up and that I've always believed!

BitchyInnerMonologue Mon 24-Oct-16 21:29:58

It's true. I'm heading for 40 and it wasn't about when I was young, but when my parents were - I'd say up to the 70's in some areas.

biscuitkumquat Mon 24-Oct-16 21:33:23

Yup, I'm in rural Angus, and we still call them tattie holidays.

Ds's slightly pretentious private school, insists on calling them mid-term.

AllTheBabies Mon 24-Oct-16 21:35:32

We had tattie holidays in rural Aberdeenshire. I'm 29 but as far as I know the kids still call them that now.

prettybird Mon 24-Oct-16 21:35:52

I'm from Glasgow and didn't know about them when I was younger.

However, when I worked for ICI and was dealing with out factory in Dumfries, I got told all about them grin

You didn't imagine it. They're real.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 24-Oct-16 21:38:00

I still call them the tattie holidays. My brothers still went tattie howkin in the late 1970s. We all used to go to the berries in the summer holidays too!

dementedpixie Mon 24-Oct-16 21:39:24

Not called that here (north lanarkshire). We also only have a week holiday whereas some places get 2 weeks

weebarra Mon 24-Oct-16 21:39:39

It's true. DH is from Angus so he got two weeks growing up. I'm from the West and I got one. He did howk tatties too.

INeedSomeHelp Mon 24-Oct-16 21:39:45

I did point out to her that I'd never actually done the harvesting - just enjoyed the holidays. But glad to know I'm just old and not gullible!

SetPhasersTaeMalkie Mon 24-Oct-16 21:43:35

Tattie holidays still here too. Although I've never howked a tattie in my life.

Tomorrowisanewday Tue 25-Oct-16 08:30:49

Yes, you're correct. We went every year when we were kids - it was hard work, but it meant we could get new bikes and larger items that mum and dad didn't have money for. still called that where I am, although I think it's dying out.

LunaLoveg00d Tue 25-Oct-16 08:35:31

England and Wales get half term too though - my sister's kids are off this week in southern England. A week in October isn't exclusive to Scotland.

I grew up in Edinburgh and it was always the "October week" there and nothing to do with tatties ;-)

hesterton Tue 25-Oct-16 08:37:20

£8 a day in the 70s! Riches beyond our wildest dreams! You shared a line (and the money) with your friend if you were too small to manage a whole one.

Waiting for the tractor. .. then madly lifting, back breaking work to fill the basket before it came back again to plough up the next line.

Littleelffriend Tue 25-Oct-16 08:37:30

I'm early thirties and I used to dress tatties every October break

hesterton Tue 25-Oct-16 08:37:50

It was mostly women and children.

hesterton Tue 25-Oct-16 08:38:33

Then raspberry picking in the summer. Didn't pay as well bit the perks were tastier!

DramaInPyjamas Tue 25-Oct-16 08:39:05

Our school newsletter even refers to them as the tattie holidays grin

LostInTheColonies Tue 25-Oct-16 08:44:39

I lived in Sutherland - we certainly had tattie holidays there. DF also told me about Mealie Monday - a day off from university to go home & get a bag of oatmeal to keep them going for the rest of the term. That would have been late 50s / early 60s. Must have eaten a whole lot of porridge...

GreatPointIAgreeWithYouTotally Tue 25-Oct-16 08:47:54

I remember Tattie holidays in Aberdeen in the 70s.

Also the 'Trades Fortnight' where all the tradesmen, esp plumbers, builders, some shops just packed up for two weeks.

'Half term' still sounds very Mallory Towers to me.

Groovee Tue 25-Oct-16 15:30:22

We still call the first 2 weeks in July, the trades as DH is a gas engineer. Only heard of the tatties holidays in the last few years from friends up north.

crocodileshavenoears Tue 25-Oct-16 15:37:34

We called them tattie holidays in Moray in the 80s/90s and some of my classmates still picked tatties. I'm in the central belt now though, and whenever I call them that, out of old habit, I get very strange looks.

FoofFighter Tue 25-Oct-16 15:45:38

Live in Moray (am English though) and it's still known as the tattie hols here.

InformalRoman Tue 25-Oct-16 19:41:29

English too, and even I know about Trades Fortnight and the Tattie Holidays.

DanyellasDonkey Tue 25-Oct-16 20:01:29

Yep - 2 weeks' tattie holidays here in Moray and I remember going to pick tatties as a teenager. It was hell on earth backbreaking work but well paid at the time. I hated every minute.

MrsRedFly Tue 25-Oct-16 20:34:24

Two weeks tattie holidays in Perth (& Fife!)

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