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Scots leid competition 2021 – lang may yer lum reek

The Scots leid competition is now closed. This page is for information only.

Lang may yer lum reek. Ever heard onybody sayin this afore? A freend? A relative? Dae ye say it yersel? Dae ye ken whit it means?

If ye’re keen, and fancy gien it a go, here’s hoo tae tak pairt.

Scrieve a Scots story, poem, play, sang or mak a short video inspired by the Scots phrase lang may yer lum reek. Yer scrievins hae tae be in Scots, under 500 words (or five minutes) and the deidline for submittin yer writing is Wednesday 25 August, midday.

The winner will be named Young Scots Writer o the Year 2021 and will receive their award at a special ceremony (The Scots Language Awards 2021) in September this year.

Scroll doon for the details in English, enter noo or read on for tips.

Lang may yer lum reek (Whit does it mean?)

Lang may yer lum reek.

Literally in English, ‘Long may your chimney smoke’.

Scottish folk say it when wishin ithers a lang and happy life.

At a birthday pairty, ye micht hear somebody sayin it tae the birthday quine or loun Lang may yer lum reek and thon wid be like ‘Many Happy Returns.’ Or at a retirement pairty, a gless micht be raised tae the woman or man o the oor wi the toast Lang may yer lum reek which wid be the equivalent o ‘All the best for the future.’

Lang may yer lum reek is a weel-kent phrase and a guid Scots ane. It cams fae the days when awbody heated their hame wi a coal fire. If there wis reek (smoke) comin oot o the lum (chimney), it meant a body or faimly had eneuch siller for coal and that their hoose wis a warm and happy place.

When folk say it tae each ither, Lang may yer lum reek is meant as a metaphor. It is a wish for a body tae hae guid luck, guid fortune and a lang life.

Lang may yer lum reek (Creative Writin)

Let’s think aboot this Scots phrase Lang may yer lum reek.

It’s freendly. It’s Scottish. It’s a tradition.

Traditions are there in oor culture tae be shared and respectit. They are there as weel tae be subverted and broken, especially by writers.

Ye micht want tae write a story or poem that celebrates the phrase Lang may yer lum reek. (For a poem, think o aw the words that rhyme wi REEK.)

Or ye micht want tae use the phrase Lang may yer lum reek as important pairt o or at a crucial moment in a story or poem.

Or you micht decide that Lang may yer lum reek is oot o date in the modern warld whaur we hae tae think aboot carbon emissions and ither environmental issues.

Or write in ony wey ye want and aboot whitever cams tae ye aboot the Scots phrase Lang may yer lum reek.

English Translation

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Scottish Book Trust's Scots Leid competition is run in partnership with Hands Up for Trad, Scots Hoose, Education Scotland and Scottish Government.

Row of logos for Scots Hoose, Hands Up For Trad, Education Scotland and Scottish Government