Why do People Spit on The Heart of Midlothian?


Spitting in the street isn’t proper behavior, but on the Royal Mile in Edinburg, Scotland, it’s almost a ritual. The object of contempt is an innocuous heart-shaped mosaic in the cobblestones of the street. Known as the Heart of Midlothian, it sits in the spot where the infamous Old Tolbooth Prison once stood. It was a place where people used to gather for public hangings and spit at the door in disdain for those imprisoned inside. The prison was in such sorry state that when Mary, Queen of Scots, visited the prison in 1561, she ordered that the building should be demolished. Shortly after, the cobblestone heart was installed at the spot where the prison entrance once was and brass markers signify the overall positioning of the building. Since then, it has become a local custom to spit on the heart for good luck.