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Did you know that Halloween is actually Scottish?

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Written by   233
1 month ago

25th October 2021 Time now 22:77

Hello to all of you awesome and wonderful readers.

Are you ready? Are you Readddy!

It is coming ... Halloween is fast approaching.

Whilst I am pontificating about what to write as an article I decided to enlighten you with a few of our daft Halloween traditions that we have in Scotland.

Hallowe’en, All-Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve, Allhalloween

Whatever you want to or do call it, Halloween has roots in the Gaelic festival of Samhain, first mentioned in the 16th century. The word Halloween itself is Scottish, and comes from the Scottish shortening of All-Hallows Eve to Halloween.

Robert Burns the famous Scots poet, whose ‘Halloween’ poem was published in 1786, said that Halloween was the time of year that was ‘thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands’.

While today we all think of images of pumpkins, the Halloween carving traditions in Scotland were not pumpkins but something else. Can you guess what I used to carve as my lantern as a kid?

Here is a quick wee list of typically Scottish traditions at Halloween.

So without further ado, I shall start off with one for you young lovers!

Kale Pulling

I love kale and used it in my green smoothies article

If we take a wander back in time then you will discover that kale stalks were used to predict your romantic future! What do you think of that ladies?

In Robert Burns's poem ‘Halloween’, people would pull stalks of kale from the ground after dark and with their eyes closed. The length and shape of the stalk were said to represent your future lover’s height and figure, and the amount of soil around the roots represented their wealth.

What sort of kale stalk would you like to pull I wonder?

So now you have your special person, onto the next tradition.

Nut Burning

Do you want to find out if you and your significant other will live happily ever after? A Halloween tradition that was once common among recently engaged couples was for each of the two people to put a nut in a fire.

  • If the nuts burned quietly, then they would live happily ever after.

  • However, if the nuts hissed and crackled, then a turbulent future lay ahead.

You chose your partner and had your bairns

Guising

Scottish children traditionally dressed up in costumes and pretended to be naughty spirits and they went ‘guising’ around the local streets. It was believed that, by disguising themselves in costumes, they would blend in with any wandering spirits and remain safe from harm.

After performing some tricks and/or songs, guisers were then given gifts from people to help ward off evil. Not like today’s trick-or-treaters, who now get ‘treats’ simply showing up in a costume and knocking at a front door.

Neep Lanterns

In times gone bye, communities would light huge bonfires to keep all the evil spirits away from them. In true Scottish tradition, scary faces were carved into neeps (turnips) to create lanterns that would scare off ghouls wandering in the witching house.

Yes the answer to my earlier question, I carved a turnip lantern.

Thanks to America’s influence, pumpkins are now as if not more common as turnips for lanterns in Scotland – and a hell of alot easier to carve!

meme from Facebook

After the bairns have been guising time for all the family to have some fun

Apple Dookin'

Apple Dookin' or Apple bobbing in England is the bobbing for apples game and is also known as snap apple in Ireland.

It is an ancient Celtic tradition and a fun game to play.

We used to get our hands tied behind our backs and wear a blindfold. Then an adult would lean you over a big barrel of water that was filled with apples.

The first one to get an apple out of the barrel won. You could either try and bite it and lift it out or put a fork in your mouth and try to stab it and lift it out. No matter what way you chose a wet face and hair was the result!

Then finish off with some sticky sweet fun

Treacle Scones or Apples

This was my favourite.

Sticky treacle-covered apples and scones would be hung from the ceiling at the end of string.

Again hands tied behind your back and blindfold you would have to get a scone or apple. What a mess as they would hit your face and hair and cover you in treacle.

This is the first of a couple of Halloween articles I will publish this week.

I hope you enjoyed a wee bit of Scots History and now know where Halloween came from!

Copyright @TengoLoTodo 2021 and yes All Rights Reserved. All images, words, and ramblings are from the author unless otherwise stated.

100% original content from this mad Scotsman!

And don't forget ;)

Haste ye back.


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Comments

You had a lot of traditions for Halloween there sir sadly in the Philippines I think we just acquire some of the other countries traditions. I grew up experiencing nothing we were not allowed to go outside at night especially on Halloween.

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1 month ago

That is a shame that you weren't allowed to go outside at night. Lockdowns have meant Halloween here has been quiet though

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1 month ago

A nice one, Ed. I like reading about this bit of Scots history. And to know that when you were a little rascal, you carved lanterns into turnips, or I should say neeps. hehe ;)

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1 month ago

Hehe once a rascal, always a rascal Eliana 😉 actually it is hard to carve neeps, and scraping out the insides to make a lantern was flipping hard!

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1 month ago

I guess it was hard work, and I wouldn't even dare to try it. Thank god for the pumpkins, hehe 🎃

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1 month ago

Hehe yes the pumpkins are cheating, kids today don't know how luck they have it 😂😂

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1 month ago

I wanma try the Apple Dookin' one. 😅😂 Are people not gonna laugh at how I'd look then? Hahaha!

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1 month ago

Hehe people would laugh, but not at you, at everyone 😁

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1 month ago

Is that so? I thought I'd look funny. 😂

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1 month ago

Turnip grow that big? Can imagine the kale pulling and nut not burning. Girls really believes a lot lol.

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1 month ago

Oh yes big turnips and it is hard, so not easy to cut out and carve. Hehe girls will be girls the world over.

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1 month ago

Apple Dookin' sound fun. I imagine it would be more funny if it is a floor instead of water, what a mess😅 I want to try the nut burning.

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1 month ago

Haha the flour would be messy especially if treacle as well 😁 oh I want to know if your nuts would his or not 🤣

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1 month ago

Hopefullythe nuts will result good😅

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1 month ago

Wait... what? I had no idea about it. But now I have.

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1 month ago

Hehe yes now you have an idea

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1 month ago

I think I heard about this before. . hehe

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1 month ago

Hehe well now you know 😉

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1 month ago

It's my first time hearing this information I'm Lucky to join this platform. That Apple dookie game I never heard it but I think I saw the is one before in movies

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1 month ago

Oh I am sure you might have seen it in movies, it is a fun game to play especially if you are blindfolded.

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1 month ago

I watched that burning of camfire at halloween in television. I once heard that people use to wear mask before because they're scared that the ghost and dead might take them to afterlife

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1 month ago

Yes there used to be lots of burnfires and people disguise themselves with masks so the dead and the spirits ignore them and leave them alone.

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1 month ago

And I thought Halloween originated in Sleepy Hollow! Lol At least I know now where the Trick-or-treating tradition started. Minus the candy giving.

I think candy giving was started by the candy, toothpaste, and toothbrush manufacturing companies, to boost sales.

While waiting for the next Scottish Halloween article, I will go look for the original "Candyman" movie! Hmm would I dare say his name 5 times????

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1 month ago

Hehe Sleepy Hollow has been dethroned! Ah yes candy giving was started to boost sales, now that makes sense, a bit like Coca Cola starting the red theme at Christmas. Enjoy Candyman hehe I wonder if those tokens will see movement at Halloween.

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1 month ago

True. Coca-Cola dressed St. Nick in red and made him fat... I'm not sure if the real St. Nicholas was fat though. But his feast day is on the 6th of December, not the 24th. Commercialism always finds a way to twist some cultures so they can profit.

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1 month ago

The kale thing gave me a good laugh and the barrel and apples thing I had already heard. I'm from Latin America, specifically from a country called Chile 🇨🇱 and we don't celebrate Halloween here. Although some few dress up in witches and ghosts costumes, especially children. I look forward to your next post, you are one of the few writing in another language that I enjoyed reading.

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1 month ago

Thank you for the kind words. Actually I have never know anyone pull kale to see who they would be get, but would be fun. Oh I know Chile, I remember we had a football player from Chile who joined our club and people were learning about Chile 😁 I am glad you like to read what I write as I do try to write knowing there will be non native English speakers reading

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1 month ago

Waitt… Why did I just learn about this today? Apple Dookin’ sounds fun to play

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1 month ago

Hehe yes apple dookin is fun to play and you get apples to eat 😁

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1 month ago

Some very interesting history about Halloween Ed. I loved the toffee apples as a kid.

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1 month ago

Well hello and glad you made it Tara, oh yes toffee apples were awesome 😁

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1 month ago

It’s been a while, glad to catch up with you again.

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1 month ago

It has been ages, I shall go visit you now

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1 month ago

These tunips is much more scary and frightening than pumpkin... Halloween in your country is really fascinating and you did great in those carvings 😱😱

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1 month ago

It is fascinating and was even better as a mid playing the games

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1 month ago

I could tell already that it was fun, and these memories could be relived once again..

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1 month ago

ohh I just learned something today hahaha thank you kuya ed

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1 month ago

Oh it is my pleasure, always great to learn new things

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1 month ago

Westerners way of celebrating Halloween has been adopted in our country. However, I'm not sure if some of that were already being done here. I guess the disguising part is.

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1 month ago

Any excuse for shops to make money and sell things I think. It seems to be more commercial now compared to when I was growing up!

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1 month ago

You have a lot of Halloween activities there uncle. Wanna try the Kate Stalk. Hahahaha

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1 month ago

Hehe yes it would be fun to see you pull the kale stalk and see what you get 😂

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1 month ago

Hahahahahaha exciting.

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1 month ago

I'm curious, what kind of nuts do you use in nut burning? This is the first time I heard of such Halloween activity. For the trick or treat, I haven't seen one where kids really perform tricks. I really didn't know that they used to do that. All this time I thought they just wear costumes and stand at someone's door then they receive candies. Here, the kids will just have a parade while they wear costumes.

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1 month ago

This is very nice😂😂😂

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1 month ago

Thank you , it is a bit of fun

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1 month ago