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Burning of the Clavie

By almiles  
Held every year on the 11th of January in Burghead on the site of the ancient pictish fort, the burning of the Clavie is a very old new year fire festival. Pretty spectacular to watch and seemingly hazardous to enact. The Clavie King and his entourage carry the burning Clavie about town after it's lit by a peat, stopping at various houses to gift burning staves to light their fires. They end up mounting the Clavie on a stone plinth on the fort's ramparts where extra wood is added and buckets of tar thrown on to the cheers of "Clavie!" with explosive results. It's considered good luck to get a piece of the Clavie wood and light your own fire. Towards the end they struck the Clavie to bring it down which made one of my favourite images of the night. The variants show different parts of the celebration. Big crowd this year but managed to get a good viewpoint for me and the family.

Tags: Photo journalism New year Burghead Tradition Clavie Fire festival

Voters: buxton, pablophotographer, zapar40 and 20 more

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pablophotographer 5 673 269
14 Jan 2014 8:45PM
Spectacular !
happy and lucky 2014 for you then Smile

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14 Jan 2014 8:54PM
What a wonderful tradition,Al!
A very interesting write up to accompany a fine photographic record of the event.

fazzer Plus
7 54 7 United Kingdom
14 Jan 2014 9:13PM
Spectacular indeed , great reportage ...1and 5 are my faves, love the light on the hammer face in v1 and the the light on the faces and floating embers in 5
Regards j Smile
Mollycat Plus
3 11 2 United Kingdom
14 Jan 2014 10:47PM
Six incredible images to accompany your narrative. Peter.
PranavMishra 4 52 17 India
15 Jan 2014 2:38AM
i think image 1 should go alone, seeing which i had to think, 'how do they get these images?'..
almiles 6 38 102 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2014 6:01AM
Cheers Pablo, Richard, Jeremy, Peter and Parnab Smile
ColleenA Plus
4 319 4 Australia
15 Jan 2014 6:09AM
Great captures Al, enjoyed your narrative too...very interesting
kel55 4 8 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2014 6:59AM
Hi Al , fire captured great , v6 is my face, makes me think of lord of the rings . Kel
Rende Plus
9 38 4 Netherlands
15 Jan 2014 12:02PM
Beautiful series Al, but V1 is spectacular with a great pose and excellent lighting, avoiding the man to become a silhouette.
almiles 6 38 102 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2014 8:59PM
Big thanks for the UA, Rende! Thanks too for your comments Colleen and Kel Smile
WhiteRose1 Plus
6 1.6k 148 England
16 Jan 2014 8:12PM
v1 is beautifully timed, Al, an intriguing image but all is explained in the description. I had to 'google' what the actual clavie was - you missed the bit The charcoal of the clavie is collected and put in pieces up the cottage chimneys, to keep spirits and witches from coming down. Keeping the spirits out of a Scotsman's home... an almost impossible task!!! Tongue

almiles 6 38 102 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2014 8:30PM
Check out you, you boffin! Grin Thanks for the critique as well as the extra info Dave! Smile
viscostatic 10 34 5 United Kingdom
17 Jan 2014 9:12PM
An excellent series Al, especially the lead image. I had never heard of this and so close to home too.

almiles 6 38 102 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 2:25PM
Its worth seeing Phil, a good atmosphere too.
derekhansen Plus
8 210 24 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2014 8:36PM
Coming to this late and I cant believe this didnt get many more votes Alan. The 'pose' captured is excellent and this has bags of impact. I am genuinely bemused.
almiles 6 38 102 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2014 8:44PM
Cheers Derek! People definitely not my strong point (when it comes to photography!) as I yet again discovered tonight as 'official photographer' for my daughter's P7 Burns Night dinner Grin

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