Folklore Friday - Brigadoon

By Sophie 6 months ago 1055 Views No comments

Visitors to Scotland are often keen to know where they can find the mysterious and beautiful village of Brigadoon. A place where the passing of 100 years seems no longer than one night, the village is famously hidden somewhere in the Scottish highlands. The most magical thing about this village is that it only appears every hundred years for just one day, so visitors are hard pushed to find it as we don't know which day this might be, or even which decade!

How did Brigadoon come to be this way?

Legend has it that the village of Brigadoon fell under an evil enchantment. To lift the curse the village made a deal with God and promised they would remain unchanged and invisible to the outside world, except for one special day every one hundred years. On this day, the village would be visible to outsiders and they would be free to visit Brigadoon. On this day the village have a celebration and take a moment to feel joy that they have returned to the real world.

There is a dark side to this deal though, apart from being invisible for a century, no one in the village is allowed to leave. If any citizen leaves Brigadoon, the village will disappear forever into the highland mist.

It is believed that the village of Brigadoon disappeared in 1754. Thought to have had the spell cast over it in a method to protect the village from advancing redcoats during the Jacobite rebellion.

German Roots?

There is an old German legend that tells of a cursed village named Germenelhausen. It is said that the bells of the village were so loud that they could be heard ringing out across the Bavarian Mountains. The story goes that those who followed the sound of the bells across the mountains to reach the village, but they would never be seen again. On trying to leave the village to return to the mortal world, their attempts were only in vain.

Allegedly, Germelhausen was inhabited by dark and evil forces that only desired to harm humanity. The evil village is said to still exist, hidden somewhere in the Bavarian Hills. Unseen by the human eye, the village is ready to draw the unwary traveler into its curse and anyone who comes across this village is advised to stay away at all costs.

Interestingly, while the village of Germelhausen is associated with evil forces, Brigadoon reflects joy and Scottish romance.

Brigadoon Today

Today, many associate Brigadoon with the 1947 musical, written by Frederick Loewe.Gaining world fame, the musical tells of a pair of American visitors who stumble upon the village before a wedding celebration.

Some people believe the musical was named for Brigid - a Celtic goddess.

Others suggested it may be a compound of the Celtic words 'Briga' meaning town and 'dun' meaning fortifications. This suggests the meaning of the name describes a fortified or sheltered town.