Trick or treat? Yes, Halloween is coming. Time of ghosts and monsters, especially loved by children. Probably most of you think that Halloween originated from US. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The origin of Halloween
It all started in Scotland, over two thousands years ago. November 1 back then was first day of Celtic New Year. At the end of summer Celtic tribes were paying offerings to sun god called Samhain. Transition between old and new year was very important for the Celts. They believed that in this day souls of the dead are visiting world of the mortals.
How did people celebrate Halloween
Even many years ago children in Scotland had their special way of celebrating. They went from door to door “guising”, dressed up and willing to perform in return for some gifts. I bet some of you have no idea, that during Samhain people also disguised themselves in masks and costumes to scare away ghosts. So apparently this tradition originates from Scotland, not from US.
In each village there was a huge bonfire to prevent residents from evil spirits. What is more, people lit also candles and lanterns. At first lanterns were made of turnip, but pumpkins turned out easier to carve, so turnips were forced out. Traditionally lanterns with carved eyes and mouths are displayed on window sills as a warning to evil ghosts.
Legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns mentioned this traditions in his poem “Halloween”:
Some merry, friendly, country-folks
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks,
An’ haud their Hallowe’en
Fu’ blythe that night…..
Translation: Some merry, friendly, country people
Together did convene,
To burn their nuts, and pull their plants,
And keep their Halloween
Full blythe that night
What are some Halloween – connected rituals in Scotland?
Well, there is ducking for apples. It is commonly played game, in which players sit with their hands behind the back, trying to catch apples swimming in tub with… their mouths. The quickest one is the winner.
Other one is eating treacle-covered scones hanging from a string or peeling an apple and throwing the peel over your shoulder. Peel should form initial of one’s future spouse.
Nowadays in Scotland there are lots of interesting events connected with Halloween. You definitely wouldn’t like to miss Zombie Walk, which takes part in Glasgow. Many castles, for example Inveraray castle, are organizing haunted guided tours. You can also visit Balmoral Castle (more about Scottish Castles). There is also HAIRST Festival in Huntly (Food and Halloween festival) and Celtic Samhain Festival (more about Scottish Festivals).
Have fun on 31th October!
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