This time of year, you’ll hear a lot of Scots boasting about how we invented Halloween and interestingly, they’re mostly right but the traditions also existed in Ireland, Wales and across parts of England too.
There has been a long standing tradition in Scotland, of dressing up, carving neeps and mischief at this time of year, although there is plenty of debate and disagreement as to the details of course.
It is widely believed that the custom of Hallo’ween goes back to pre-Christian times when the people of Scotland marked this time of year as the beginning of winter. The harvests had all been brought in already, but at the end of October and beginning of November was when it was time to bring in livestock and animals for winter shelter. Many of them would then also have been killed to provide meat over the cold, dark winter. So… it’s dark, cold and a lot of animals are slaughtered… you can understand how it came to be a time of year for ghosts and ghouls! The agricultural calendar was always a community event, everyone lent a hand and celebrations were normal after all the hard work. Dressing up, guising, pranks and feasting may have been practised for hundreds and hundreds of years. People believed that this was a supernatural time, when spirits and entities were abroad, so dressing up was to scare them away and putting out food was to appease them. It is also believed that the occasion was marked with a huge bonfire in ancient times (a fire festival)… and that is perhaps what eventually led to us lighting carved neeps. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory made is an official Christian celebration for all the Saints that didn’t have their own special day!
Later, when mass migration to America began in the 18th century, Scots took their Hallo’ween traditions with them. Only in America the pumpkin harvest coincided with Hallo’ween, and being much easier to carve, quickly became a new tradition.
Occasionally the mischief can extend to a few smashed and damaged windscreens too. So if you find yourself needing a repair or replacement, Strathclyde Windscreens will be more than happy to brave the cold and wet to get you fixed up.
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