Read about the origin, history and celebration of Halloween (Samhuinn) in Scotland.
Fundoo Times: Festivals: Halloween: Halloween in Scotland

Halloween in Scotland

Origin and History of Halloween in Scotland

The Halloween celebration in Scotland comes from the ancient Samhain, an ancient Celtic or pagan celebration. The word Samhain means summer’s end and it was celebrated to chase evil spirits from homes and lands. The festival was also observed as the preparation for the coming hardship of winter. Thus the celebration was a time when the foods are salted and stored for the dark months ahead. This Samhain later became famous as Christian celebration known as Halloween. Pope George III moved All Saints’ Day (day to honor the dead souls of Christian saints) from May to November. This is because Celtics refused to stop their traditional Samhain celebration which comes later in October. All Saints’ Day became famous as All Hallows and the evening before this or the ancient Samhain became famous as All Hallows' Eve which got shortened to Halloween.

Local name: Samhuinn

Ways to celeberate Samhuinn in Scotland

Halloween in Scotland is celebrated with great enthusiasm. During Halloween bonfires are lit as a means of protection everyone from evil spirits for the approaching year. As part of tradition people throw stones in the bonfires until the flames have extinguished. If the people don’t find the stones later it is believed that the approaching year would bring bad luck for them. The famous Halloween customs in Scotland consists of Children going door to door playing a game called “guising”, wherein kids weary scary costumes in order to get a treat. The celebration in Scotland is incomplete without parties. Various games are conducted in the parties to bring the zeal to celebration. Although most of the customs associated with the celebration are same, a few changes are observed in some parts of Scotland. In some places a silver coin is thrown in front of the door to bring good luck. While in other parts stones were placed in the ashes of bonfires and if the stone breaks it means the person would die before next Halloween. Whatever be the traditions associated with the celebration, the happiness and merriment behind the festival remains same everywhere.