Or as is Said these Days

Happy Halloween

Scotland is rich in its folklore and customs and none more so than Halloween. In Scotland it was traditionally known as SamhainA bewitching brew of the macabre and the carnivalesque it'll come as no surprise to learn that Halloween or rather Hallowe'en traces its origins way back to the ancient Celtic Samhuinn Festival. Many of the Halloween customs we know and love today are in fact remnants of this ancient culture from trick-or-treating to jack-o'-lanterns. It also takes its name from All Hallows Eve the night before the Christian festival of All Hallows or All Saints Day when the dead were thought to return to earth to walk among the livingIt was a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winterTraditionally it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. This is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals along with Imbolc Bealtaine and Lughnasadh. Historically it was widely observed throughout Ireland Scotland and the Isle of ManThe Gaels believed that on Samhain the veil that separates this world from beyond the grave to become thinner and it was thought possible that the dead or supernatural creatures walking about freely on the ground among the living . In this regard it was customary to leave an empty seat at the table prepared with food for the invisible guests deceased who would join the family for the evening meal.The hours preceding midnight were those in which the souls of the dead would returned. This custom is still widespread in some parts of Scotland where the night of October 31 you leave a little 'food for the dead at the table and tell the stories of their ancestorsThey also lit bonfires. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them.Mumming or guising as Scots called it were part of the festival and involved people going door-to-door in costume often reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way of imitating and disguising oneself. Divination rituals and games were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples. In the late 19th century Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer suggested that it was the "Celtic New Year" and this view has been repeated by some other scholars.So if your out and about with your Pumpkin or in the Scottish tradition a Neap better known to everyone else as a turnip remember that this was not an American idea but a long long tradition from the CeltsPS