Tuesday, 29 October 2013



From earliest Celtic records Halloween, Samhain, was originally celebrated on Nov 1st and on the following day. At this time the Celts believed the human world would be open to the gods and spirits of the Otherworld. Originally a Druidic festival which involved human sacrifice and other offerings, these celebrations have continued but with many of the original rituals and significance forgotten.
In early Celtic traditions Samhain was closely associated with burial mounds which were believed to be the entrance to the Otherworld.
In some parts of the highlands of Scotland the festival was traditionally held on the 11th of Nov. Part of the celebrations was the creation of a bonfire, samhnag, on a mound 'The Mound of the Dead'
One such mound was at Fortingall in Perthshire. This mound it was believed held the victims of a terrible plague, the corpses being carried there by an old woman driving a cart pulled by a white horse. The mound is topped by a plague stone.
When the bonfire is lit the locals would take hands and dance around the blaze. When the fire wanes young boys would take burning faggots and run around the boundaries of the farms in order to protect their homes against faeries and other evil beings.

In Cornwall Halloween was called Allantide especially around the village of St Allan. Allantide being a corruption of the middle english Alhalwen-tyd, All Hallows Tide.
It was usually celebrated on the nearest Sunday to All Hallows Eve.
Here children were instructed to take apples to bed with them, then in the morning to eat them; this was thought to bring good luck. Adults would also do this to dream of their future partners.
Other charms to try at this time to divine names of future partners;
Write names on pieces of paper, screw up small and press into balls of mud. Then immerse in a bowl of water. The first to open would reveal the name of your future partner.
A wedding ring suspended between thumb and forefinger by a length of cotton accompanied by 
'If my husbands name is to be......
let this ring swing'

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