Lang may yer lum reek

Basking shark collection obscured by gold star

The meaning behind ‘lum’

Have you ever wondered the meaning behind the name ‘lum’? It’s rooted in a traditional greeting from my home in Scotland, and hints towards the homes I’m trying to create through the products I make. Here’s a little more about the word, and why it’s important:

“Lang may yer lum reek”

Translated from the original Scots language, it literally means ‘long may your chimney smoke’. Word by word, it breaks down like this:

  • ‘Lang’ - long (as in, for a long time)
  • ‘Yer’ - your (your home, your hearth)
  • ‘Lum’ - chimney, fireplace
  • ‘Reek’ - stink (the smell of smoke and burning fuel)

Traditionally, it is the kind of thing you would say to a neighbour when first-footing as the bells ring out on Hogmanay, or when you first see them in the New Year. In practice the meaning is ‘may you always have a warm and prosperous home’, with the idea that a ‘reeking lum’ would be a good sign of having the affluence of fuel to keep a home warm at the cold start of a new year.  However, the sentiment is more like ‘have a long and healthy life’, and thus perfect for sharing your goodwill!

Creating cosy, sustainable homes

Although not in the business of making chimneys, to me ‘lum’ is still synonymous with the cosy nature of a warm home. As we spend more time in our homes during the Covid-19 pandemic (and every winter!), it becomes more and more important that our home spaces are welcoming, relaxing and cosy: that they provide a respite from the rest of the world going on outside! And it is paramount that our homes maintain and celebrate the values of sustainability that are so important for our shared future. 

Inspired by Scotland’s nature

In founding lum I want to ensure that we all have more sustainable homes (and a more sustainable natural environment) for many years to come, with the products I make creating positive change. It is ironic that the ‘lums’ of the past would have been fuelled by fossil fuels like oil, coal and peat, and partly responsible for the climate change which is now putting our lives, our biodiversity and our wider nature at risk. I’m proud that lum’s sewing is powered by renewable energy, and that in donating 10% of all profits to the Scottish Wildlife Trust, we’re helping to create better homes for the flora and fauna in our world.

Linen homeware and self-care made by lum

I hope this wee blog has given you an insight into the meaning behind lum! Find out more about the story behind lum or help create your own cosy home by browsing our collections inspired by Scotland’s nature.