Meal Monday
Meal Monday was a traditional holiday
School holiday
School holidays are the periods during which schools are closed for study. The dates and periods of school holidays vary considerably throughout the world, and there is usually some variation even within the same jurisdiction.- Christmas holiday :In countries with a predominantly Judeo-Christian...

 observed by the ancient universities of Scotland
Ancient universities of Scotland
The ancient universities of Scotland are medieval and renaissance universities which continue to exist until the present day. The majority of the ancient universities of the British Isles are located within Scotland, and have a number of distinctive features in common, being governed by a series of...

 on the second Monday of February.

During the 17th century, Scottish university students lived in very basic accommodation and were required to bring their own fuel, faggots or peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, to maintain a fire. Their diet was meager too, largely consisting of oatmeal
Oatmeal is ground oat groats , or a porridge made from oats . Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats....

, which they would make into porridge
Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish...

. This lifestyle would remain typical until the late 19th century, Rev. James Sharp noted that as a student at the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, "the liberal arts, sciences and theology were cultivated on oatmeal, with an occasional glass of beer on a Saturday night."

As the students' country homes or farms were some distance from the city Universities, an occasional long weekend
Long weekend
Long weekend is a term used in Western countries to denote a weekend that is at least three days long , due to a holiday falling on either the Friday or Monday....

 was scheduled to permit them to replenish their supplies. Originally, and until as recently as 1885, these Meal Mondays would occur regularly; the University of Edinburgh had one on the first Monday of every month. However, by 1896 Edinburgh established just one official holiday, on the second Monday in February.

Meal Monday remained widely observed in Scotland during the late 19th and 20th century, with Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

 and Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

 Universities also having the academic holiday. In 2006, Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith
Alexander McCall Smith
Alexander "Sandy" McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, is a Rhodesian-born Scottish writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. In the late 20th century, McCall Smith became a respected expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees...

 reported that "[it] was still celebrated some 30 years ago, when I was a student, although nobody used it to fetch oatmeal." By the beginning of the 21st century, however, the Universities no longer afforded their students an official Meal Monday holiday, though the University of St. Andrews still maintains Meal Monday as a statutory holiday for "manual staff."
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