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Scots Blog

The Scots language has a rich tradition, and abounds with marvellous words. This blog will regularly show a different Scots or Gaelic word with its English equivalent. I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Linda Gilmore Sutherland


 

Scots Blog is back! 03/11/2019

by Linda - 19:57 on 03 November 2019

HALLOW EEN = HALLOWEEN = HALLOW EVE

This period of the year has been celebrated by peoples of Scotland (and Ireland) since time immemorial. The eve of All Saints’ Day on the 31st of October in the modern calendar corresponds to the last day of the year in the old Celtic calendar. It is associated with witches and powers of darkness, and is celebrated with bonfires and lanterns and people in costume (known as guisers) to scare away the evil ones.  Here is a delicious list of traditional names for the evil ones: ghoulies, ghaisties and bogles; fairies, banshees and gruagachs; witches, warlocks and wurricoes; brownies, urisks and shelly-coats; kelpies and water-bulls; spunkies, gnomes, trolls and sprites!

An unsettling old photo of guisers

The traditional lanterns in Scotland are carved from neeps (large turnips or rutabagas), and are often carried around by the guisers. And yes, these are the same neeps which are cooked and mashed and eaten with haggis – but that is another story.

Lanterns carved from neeps

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