A Highland Hallowe’en

GREENOCK ADVERTISER
November 1st 1850
ALLOWEEN. – That last night was Allhallow Eve, or “Halloween,” the verdant appearance of our streets abundantly testified, presenting often the resemblanceof a gigantic moving kailyard, and proving that at least the first and most mischievous part of the mystic ceremonies peculiar to the occasion were duly performed by the ragged portion of the juvenile members of society. Not only did “The vera wee things toddlin’ rin Wi’ stocks out-owre their shouther,” but some of them staggered along under the load of two enormous “runts,” with quantities of “yird” attached, which augured that if there be any truth in the superstition, some of the barefooted fry will, however unlikely, find lumping “tochers.” Some of them, who could sport a tattered handkerchief, fixed it, ingeniously enough, to the top part of their stocks, and marched along with them, held umbrella fashion, to protect their elf-locks from the falling rain ; while others, whose bumps of combativeness seemed to have been excited, used them as weapons of offence and defence, and battered each other with a hearty good will. Never did we before see such a destruction of vegetables ; and some parties will probably find this morning in their despoiled gardens, that they have “paid the piper” for the frolic, for certainly there were paraded about runts enough to have loaded a good-sized gabbart.

What is Hallowe’en?
Hallowe’en as we know it today consists of children dressing up in costumes and collecting candy and sweets door-to-door from their neighbours, but the holiday began very differently. Hallowe’en began around 2000 years ago in 5th Century B.C. by the Celtics, superstitious people that lived in Ireland, Great Britain and France. The Celts had a fire festival and feast that they called Samhain (sow-en) or “All Hallows Eve” on October 31st. It was to celebrate their third and last harvest, and also because November 1st was their New Year. The night between the two days was believed to be very special. The Celts had a strong belief that the night of Samhain was the one night of the year when the spiritual realm and the realm of the living would be able to intertwince. The spirits of the dead and other spiritual creatures could enter the living realm at will. This was not good for the Celts as they believed that these spirits would harm their flocks, crops and homes. There were a few things that the Celts would do to protect themselves from the paranormal visitors. One was to dress up to look like the spiritual visitors with masks and strange outfits. The Celts figured that if they looked like them they would be safe. That’s where dressing up as ghosts, demons and monsters came from. The other thing the Celts did was to leave food and drink outside their doors on that special night for the ghostly visitors in hopes that it would please them and so they would spare their homes from being harmed. Hallowe’en has been called many things since Samhain fire festivals came about. It has been called “All Hallows Eve”, “Hallowmas”, “Hallow Even Fire”, “All Hallows Fire”, and of course, “Samhain.” The 31st of October was not referred to as Halloween until some time in the 1700s. Because the Christian Church disagreeing with the pagan Celtics ways of burning humans for sacrifice and belief in magic, they made the witch and all things associated with them as Halloween mascots. It was a way to mock, and make fun of old pagan ways to steer people away from such beliefs.

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Hallowe’en Treats?
There are many traditional treats that we still use today to celebrate Hallowe’en. Here we have a few of the more popular treats! SOUL CAKE
A Soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for “All saints day” (the day after halloween)to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often referred to as souls, were given out to “soulers” (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on November 1st, singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern “trick or treating”. The tradition of giving soul cakes originated in Britain or Ireland during the middle ages. The cakes were usually filled with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger with raisins or currants. They were traditionally set out on doorsteps on all hallows eve, with wine or milk as an offering to the dead.

Clootie Dumpling.
The objects & meanings:Pea: person wouldn’t marry
that year. Stick: “to beat one’s wife with” or have an unhappy marriage, full of disputes. Cloth: To have bad luck or be poor. Button: Batchelor

A Traditional Recipe from Winifred Leitrim.
Clootie dumpling is a traditional scottish pudding, rich in fruit and spices, made within a cloth, or “cloot” and steamed. At halloween, clootie dumpling traditionally contained various objects baked into the mixture and was used as a fortune telling game. Each item received in a slice was supposed to carry a meaning to each person served…. Coin / horseshoe: Enjoy good fortune or
be rich. Ring: Would be married within the year. Wishbone: hearts desire Thimble: spinster

COLCANNON
Colcannon is a traditional Irish containing mashed potatoes with cabbage, spring onions, chives, parsley and kale. It’s often eaten with bacon or ham. Usually eaten in the winter when kale comes into season. An old Irish halloween tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins concealed within it. An old superstition to do with colcannon concerned the fate of unmarried women, who would put the first and last spoonfuls of halloween colcannon into a stocking and hang it on their doors. The belief was that the first man who walked through the door would become their husband.

2lb self raising flour 5oz mixed spice 1lb sultanas 1 egg 1 pint of milk

8oz margarine 8oz sugar 1lb raisins 1 tbsp treacle

turn upside down onto the first plate. Place in the bottom shelf of a pre-heated oven 150c for 20 minutes. This dries out and creates the skin. Allow to cool before slicing.

TOFFEE APPLES
Candy apples or toffee apples are quite popular to be given out to children at halloween. Apples are a fruit of the autumn, and associated with halloween in many different ways. Over generations, the apple was used in halloweeen traditions such as dooking for apples, and the superstition of peeling an apple in one go, then chucking it over your shoulder to reveal the initial of your true love. Related to the traditional halloween treat of treacle scones, toffee apples have become a more modern treat.

PUMPKIN SOUP
The pumpkin is now linked with the traditions of halloween, mostly in America. In Britain and Ireland folklore, we carved scary faces on turnips, light a candle inside and placed them in windows to ward off evil spirits. In America, the pumpkin instead is used in this tradition. Therefore, when you carve a pumpkin, why waste the flesh when you can make it into a healthy soup and serve as a halloween dish!

Mix flour, spice & sugar. Rub in margarine and sugar. Whisk egg, treacle & 3/4 of milk. Add to dry mix. Slowly incorporate remainder of milk until your mix is of a dropping consitency. Soak your cloth with cold water and ring out. Sprinkle with flour and shake. Disregard excess flour. Place your mix in the middle of the cloth & tie securely. Keep as tight as possible to keep the dumpling in one piece. Using a large pot, bring water to the boil, about half full. Place a dinner plate at the bottom of the pot, this stops the cloth & dumpling from burning. Place the dumpling in the pot and keep covered & topped up with boiling water. Boil for 4 hours. Remove from pot and place on a plate. Cut string and gently pull back the cloth. Place a dinner plate on top of the dumpling and

Winifred Leitrim was born in Northern

Ireland in 1912. She came to Scotland in 1913 & lived in Rutherlen with her parents until she married Lawrence Mackrell in 1935. Lawrence was botn in Belfast in 1906 & came to Glasgow as a 4 day old child with his parents. They were one of the first families to moved into the second phase of Pollok, Glasgow around 1945. The scheme had no schools so the children were bused daily from Pollok to Carlton. They considered themselves very privileged as they had an indoor toilet of their own, and a garden where they grew much of the fruit they ate throughout the summer & fruit wines they drank in winter. Blackcurrant Wine & Ginger Wine (non-alcoholic) were favorites at Hallowe’en and Hogmanay.

Mask Making
With Lady Alice.
Masks were used during Samhain to hide from spirits and protect themselves as the veil between life and death was thinnest during this time. Primary Seven pupils from Lady Alice took part in a workshop all about the use of masks & then spent time designing and making their own.

Lantern Making
With Highlanders.
Turnips were used during this time instead of pumpkins; pumpkins were and are an American tradition. Lantern Turnips were used because the Celts believed that they would scare away evil spirits. They were placed outside people’s homes in the hopes that the spirits would believe that their home was already taken by a spirit and they would avoid them. Primary Seven of Highlanders Academy learned all about the tradition of lanterns being used at Halloween, and then spent time designing scary templates to be cut out of turnips. They also made their own paper lanterns.

“If you dress up as something scary it will scare the spirits away.” – Erin, age 11

“I found out that halloween meant Hallows Eve and on the 1st of November the ghosts come back from the dead to haunt and scare the living” – Nathan, age 10

“In Scotland people carved Turnips as lanterns. Pumpkins are from America.” – Aidan, age 11

There are many games played at Hallowe’en. Here are a few popular games. “Dookin’ fur aipples” is a game that spread across Britain & Ireland, and in some cases, fortunes were carefully put in each apple, which were meant to be caught by the teeth of each participant. Sometimes the apples were picked from tubs of flour, so while everyone wouldn’t get soaked, they would be covered in the flour and much sneezing (and laughter) would ensue. For younger children a more modern game is ‘Forkin fur aiples’, an easier task, where the children stood on a chair and held a fork handle in their teeth, taking aim, they would release it into the basin of apples and water and retreive and keep any apple they so skewered. Another game which usually followed Dookin’ for apples was “The Game of Treacle Scones.” A scone which had been covered in Treacle would be hung from the cieling on a piece of string and the participant would have to try and eat the scone without using their hands.

Games at Hallowe’en.

All Images courtesy of SCRAN.org.uk or taken by members of the 7 1/2 team.

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