British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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402                                      HALLOW EVE.                           [OCT. 31.
and were attended by numbers from the adjacent districts. The games were keenly contested, and the victor was crowned by a bonnet adorned with feathers and ribbons, previously prepared by the ladies. When the games were over, the whole party had a dance on the green, with that merriment and glee to which the etiquette and formation of the ball­room at the present day are total strangers. Afterwards, the procession was again formed, and returned to the town, the victor preceded by the music, leading the way. A ball took place in the evening, at which he presided, and, moreover, had the privilege of wearing his bonnet and feathers.—Stat. Ace. of Scotland, 1845, vol. xiii. p. 381,
Shaw, in his History of the Proving of Moray (p. 241), considers the festivity of this night as a kind of harvest-home rejoicing. He says, a solemnity was kept on the eve of the 1st of November, as a thanksgiving for the safe in­gathering of the produce of the fields.
On All Saints' Even, the inhabitants of Callander, set up bonfires in every village. When the bonfire is consumed, the ashes are carefully collected into the form of a circle. There is a stone put in near the circumference, for every person of the several families interested in the bonfire; and whatever stone is removed out of its place or injured before the next morning, the person represented by that stone is devoted, or fey, and is supposed not to live twelve months from that day.—Sinclair, Stat. Ace. of Scotland, 1793, vol. xi. p. 621.
On the evening of the 31st of October (Old Style), the in­habitants of Logierait practise the following custom:—Heath, broom and dressings of flax are tied upon a pole; this faggot is then kindled ; one takes it upon his shoulders, and, running, bears it round the village; a crowd attending him. When the first faggot is burnt out, a second is bound to the
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