Halloween or Samhain had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead.
The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.
So, what are your plans for Samhain, or are you hiding under the bed?
Hey! Who is that under here?
Following the Protestant Reformation in Scotland in the latter half of the sixteenth century, it was considered irreverent to celebrate dates of religious importance. Thus, merriment and celebrations were reserved for Hogmanay (pronounced Hog-muh-nay), this important part of the year combined both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with a celebration of good will and good fortune.
The use of the term "first-footin'", according to legend, is as follows:
fortune would smile on the household if the first person to set foot in the doorway on the New Year was a young man; presumably tall, handsome, healthy, dark haired, dark-eyed, and bearing gifts (such as a lump of coal, to warm the hearth; loaf of bread, for a plentiful table; and coins for prosperity). Today it does no harm if the first-footer carries a bottle of his best and favorite beverage to offer his host a drink and a toast, stating "Lang may your lum reek." This traditional Scottish salutation wishes its recipient long life and prosperity. It literally means “long may your chimney smoke” (hence the lump of coal).
A first-footer who arrived empty handed was seen as a terrible omen of poverty and loss in the New Year. However, it was traditionally believed that it spelled disaster upon the household if the first person across the threshold was a woman of any age, especially a blond. (This may be due to the Viking raiders, most of whom had blond hair and certainly spelled disaster upon any rival’s home that they visited.)
A doctor or lawyer was also undesirable, as the first-footer; doctors would bring illness or death and lawyers would bring trouble and disaccord.
Several towns throughout the hillsides of Scotland continue an age old annual ritual of a walking the town limits to restate or reclaim the boundaries of the township.
These traditions have been adopted as part of the Rural Hill Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) celebration, known simply as “First Footin’”. Traditionally, the fulfillments of Hogmanay’s rituals and folklore have assured good crops, good health, and good fortune in the coming year.
Well Foothills Highland Games has came and gone for another year. Yeah!!! I am doing the "Happy Dance".
Woke up, vomiting and left hotel an hour later. Windshield was covered with frost, finally got it thawed and removed. It was the coldest it has ever been in the ten years of Foothills Highland Games. Still managed to arrive at park before sunrise. Drove into total insanity! Too dark too see numbers on the field. One vendor just showed up - not approved to be a vendor or having paid be a vendor and no space assignment. Everyone was trying to plug in to generator that was only enough power for a certain number of vendors that paid for electric - kept blowing the circuits and then discovered someone was trying to run a fridge, TV, DVD player and WiFi that had been told if we had an outlet after the paying vendors hooked up he could hook up his TV and DVD player. Got my head bit off by a charity organizer's husband, lead singer of one of our bands almost took him out for being so rude to me - I was told later. Shawn, your my hero of the day!
Then the sun came out! Insert "Heavenly Music" here. Every thing went smoothly, I stayed in the VIP tent most of the day, being taken care of by the VIP tent chairmen.
Clan Scott's boxes and tent lay in Clan Scott's space all day long. I felt too bad to go set it up and didn't really care! Joe & Shirley, 2 Clan Scott members arrived and had Clan Scott's banner in the Parade of Tartans.
Photo from a warmer healthier day with Shirley and Joe. Wish I had a photo of Joe that day, he had on a LL Bean - flannel shirt in black and white Clan Scott tartan.
And for bravery - the award goes to Aubrey, who showed up to beautify the games.
Photo of Aubrey, also, from a much much warmer day! She sat in the sun, out of the wind and said she wasn't all that cold. Mmmm, right! Little girls would be walking by and suddenly see her, and stop in their tracks. "Mommy, a fairy!" The mommies would bring them over to Aubrey and she would share fairy dust with them! A lot of happy little girls forgot how cold they were, and walked away looking at their hands and their fairy dust.
Fairies really do make dreams come true! I believe, I believe, I believe!
October 2, we were at Scotland County Highland Games in Laurinburg NC.
If you are wondering about the three different looking tartans we are wearing, they aren't different except for color and weight. The weaving pattern is identical. Rick is wearing Scott Modern Green in a 16 oz weight wool, sweetest piece of fabric I have ever sewn!!! I have on Scott Modern Red in a 13 oz cotton, affordable! Lee is wearing, my favorite, Scott Ancient Green in a 10 or 12 oz blend. Why is there difference between Modern Green and Ancient Green? Modern is dyed in a chemical dye and Ancient was dyed in vegetable dye, originally. Oh yes, Rick is holding Scott Modern Red flag and Lee has the Scott Ancient Red flag.