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Hey mates, I have to write a short story on a trip to UK during October and was wondering if there were any standard English/Scottish lore on All Hallow's Eve that we don't know about over here in the states?

Is there a particular one or several that I should look for?

Any help is appreciated,

Thank you.

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3 minutes ago, CardiffGreens said:

Samhain, a Gaelic festival; observed on similar days, with some shared traditions. 

Though the usual weasel words should be noted - "It is widely believed that many of the modern secular customs of All Hallows' Eve (or Halloween) were influenced by the festival of Samhain."

Was about to post the very same thing

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Does it have to be english or scottish specifically?

We have ‘Nos Galan Gaeaf’ (the night before the first day of winter, actually translates as New Year’s Eve as new year used to be 1st November). Everyone writes their name on a stone and throws it in a fire, then head off home before Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta (a black pig with no tail) can take their soul. Next morning, if you can’t find your stone or make out your mark, you’ll die in the next 12 months.

There’s got to be an episode of Midsommer Murders in there somewhere.

 

 

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1 hour ago, chrisp65 said:

We have ‘Nos Galan Gaeaf’ (the night before the first day of winter, actually translates as New Year’s Eve as new year used to be 1st November)

The year used to start on Lady Day (25th March). I've not heard of 1st November being the start of the year - which tradition is this from?

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29 minutes ago, limpid said:

The year used to start on Lady Day (25th March). I've not heard of 1st November being the start of the year - which tradition is this from?

Hmmm, short answer, I don’t know. I’ll go and disappear down a google rabbit hole now,  but the simplest translation of Nos Galan Gaeaf if New Year’s Eve, and that’s 31st October / 1st November.

If I don’t come back, it means I was talking bollocks...

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3 hours ago, 3_Penny_Opera said:

Hey mates, I have to write a short story on a trip to UK during October and was wondering if there were any standard English/Scottish lore on All Hallow's Eve that we don't know about over here in the states?

Is there a particular one or several that I should look for?

Any help is appreciated,

Thank you.

Essentially we didn't give a shit about it until everyone became Americanised. 

Before trick or treat became a thing it was really all about Guy Fawkes Night / Fireworks night on 5th November that was the big date. 

Instead of blackmailing home owners to hand out sweets or get vandalised kids used to lug a guy around the streets asking for a penny for the guy in order to make some hard cash. 

Simpler times. 

Edited by sidcow
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The most famous Witches in England were the Pendle Witches who were executed in 1612.  There is a load of info on Wikipedia.  The trials were well recorded I understand. 

I don't think they have anything to do with Halloween though but Pendle Witches Brew is a mighty fine ale. 

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53 minutes ago, limpid said:

The year used to start on Lady Day (25th March). I've not heard of 1st November being the start of the year - which tradition is this from?

Ok, consensus between two happy amateur historians and one actual real paid historian: it is sometimes described as Celtic New Year but there is no solid evidence, no calendars to point to, all a bit folk lorish. 

I think Samhain is very similar and has been adopted by modern Druid / Wiccan types as their new year.

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3 minutes ago, chrisp65 said:

Ok, consensus between two happy amateur historians and one actual real paid historian: it is sometimes described as Celtic New Year but there is no solid evidence, no calendars to point to, all a bit folk lorish. 

I think Samhain is very similar and has been adopted by modern Druid / Wiccan types as their new year.

You'd think they'd have used the equinox if it was druidic. Thanks for digging.

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The Scots used to do loads for Halloween.

My Nan had 'The Broons' and 'Oor Wullie' annuals from the 60s. It looked like Halloween was a bigger deal than it was here. Never actually saw any of it at my N&G's place, everyone seemed ancient there. The kids might have been down a mine, or something?

Both sets of Glasgow based characters supported Celtic and Rangers. Talk about getting bored of winning.

external-content.duckduckgo-1.png.c4b7a4697ace02dd17d992ab8d3f5dc2.png

https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/6-scottish-halloween-traditions

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47 minutes ago, sidcow said:

Essentially we didn't give a shit about it until everyone became Americanised. 

Before trick or treat became a thing it was really all about Guy Fawkes Night / Fireworks night on 5th November that was the big date. 

Instead of blackmailing home owners to hand out sweets or get vandalised kids used to lug a guy around the streets asking for a penny for the guy in order to make some hard cash. 

Simpler times. 

Very much this, when I was a kid. We were certainly aware of halloween, and its ghosts/supernatural association, but it never involved any actual rituals or activities. As you say, it was all about Guy Fawkes/bonfire night on November 5th (and it WAS on November 5th itself, regardless of whether it was a 'school night, never moved to the nearest weekend). 

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15 minutes ago, Xann said:

The Scots used to do loads for Halloween.

My Nan had 'The Broons' and 'Oor Wullie' annuals from the 60s. It looked like Halloween was a bigger deal than it was here. Never actually saw any of it at my N&G's place, everyone seemed ancient there. The kids might have been down a mine, or something?

Both sets of Glasgow based characters supported Celtic and Rangers. Talk about getting bored of winning.

external-content.duckduckgo-1.png.c4b7a4697ace02dd17d992ab8d3f5dc2.png

https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/6-scottish-halloween-traditions

Oldschool Frazzledrip

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52 minutes ago, sidcow said:

Is apple bobbing a thing in America? That's the only halloween tradition I can think of. 

It was when I was a kid. 

But nowadays, if it's still a thing, it's not anymore. Bobbing for Covid just doesn't sound as fun.

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Souling (together with soul cakes, which Pratchett used to take the piss out of) is a classic Halloween tradition in some parts of the UK. Basically involves a short chaotic play with lots of dressing up and fighting, followed by handing out cakes to the audience.

There's also a Devon tradition called pumpkin fettling, where a group stand together and a pumpkin hung on a rope above is swung at them, trying to, depending on the set up, either knock them off a plinth, or over, or out of a set area.

There's loads more around Bonfire Night though. Ridiculous stuff like a town in Devon again, I think, where they have people run through the town with flaming barrels on their back, which only people born in the town can take part in (presumably ab attempt to keep the population down).

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8 hours ago, Xann said:

The Scots used to do loads for Halloween.

My Nan had 'The Broons' and 'Oor Wullie' annuals from the 60s. It looked like Halloween was a bigger deal than it was here. Never actually saw any of it at my N&G's place, everyone seemed ancient there. The kids might have been down a mine, or something?

Both sets of Glasgow based characters supported Celtic and Rangers. Talk about getting bored of winning.

external-content.duckduckgo-1.png.c4b7a4697ace02dd17d992ab8d3f5dc2.png

https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/6-scottish-halloween-traditions

I think the Celtic nations always observed it more. When I was a kid anyway. We'd celebrate it in Wales, ducking apples, carved swedes for lanterns (none of this easy pumpkin bullshit), going round knocking on doors trick or treating . All that was a part of it. Back in Birmingham, they’d look at me like I was an alien when I mentioned this. And absolutely none of those traditions came from America, these were things that had been passed down the generations, grand parents always used to ask you about it and tell you tales of what it was like when they were kids

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It’s not connected to All Hallow’s Eve but the Ottery Tar Barrels is an amazing spectacle that not many people know about.  I saw it live once.  I shall not spoil the impact by telling you what happens.  Google it and watch the videos.  

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