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and pleasure. Around it was placed a circle of stones, one for each person of the families to whom they belonged. And when it grew dark the bonfire was kindled, at which a loud shout was set up. Then each person taking a torch of ferns or sticks in his hand, ran round the fire exulting; and sometimes they went into the adjacent fields, where, if there was another company, they visited the bonfire, taunting the others if inferior in any respect to themselves. After the fire was burned out they returned home, where a feast was preprired, and the remainder of the evening was spent in mirth and diversions of various kinds. Next morning they repaired betimes to the bonfire, where the situation of the stones was examined with much attention. If any of them were misplaced, or if the print of a foot could be discerned near any particular stone, it was imagined that the person for whoin it was set would not live out the year. Of late years this is less attended to, but about the beginning of the present century it was regarded as a sure prediction. The Hallowe'en fire is still kept up in some parts of the Low Country ; but on the western coast and in the isles it is never kindled, though the night is spent in merriment and entertainments.” 1 In the Perthshire parish of Callander, which includes the now famous pass of the Trossachs opening out on the winding and wooded shores of the lovely Loch Katrinc, the Hallowe'en bonfires were still kindled down to near the end of the eighteenth century. When the fire had died down, the ashes were carefully collected in the form of a circle, and a stone was put in, near the circumference, for every person of the several families interested in the bonfire. Next morning, if any of these stones was found to be displaced or injured, the people made sure that the person represented by it was fey or devoted, and that he could not live twelve months from that day.” In the parish of Logicrait, which covers the beautiful valley of the Tummel, one of the fairest regions of all Scotland, the Hallowe'en fire was soincwhat different. Faggots of hcath,
John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, Siot. land and Sitsmen in the Eightinth Cintury', edited by A. Allardyce, ii. 437 sy.
This account was written in
the eighteenth century.
? J. Robertson, in Sinclair's Slat. istical decount of Scotland, xi. 621 SG.
broom, and the dressings of flax were kindled and carried on poles by men, who ran with them round the villages, attended by a crowd.
As soon as one faggot was burnt out, a fresh one was lighted and fastened to the pole. Numbers of these blazing faggots were often carried about together, and when the night happened to be dark, they formed a splendid illumination. Hallowe'en fires were also lighted in some parts of the north-east of Scotland. Villagers and farmers alike must have their fire. In the villages the boys went from house to house and begged a peat from each householder, generally with the words, “Ge's a peat t burn the witches."
When the peats and other fuel had been got together, they were piled in a heap and set on fire. Then cach of the youths, one after another, laid himself down on the ground as near to the firc as he could without being burned, and thus lying allowed the smoke to roll over him. Thc others ran through the smoke and jumped over their prostrate comrade. When the fire had gone out, the ashes were scattered, the boys vying with cach other who should scatter the most. After that they continued to run through them and to pelt cach other with the charred peats.
At cach farm the spot chosen for the bonfire was as high as conveniently possible ; and the proceedings at it were much the same as at the village bonfires. The lads of onc farm, when their own fire was burnt out, sometimes went to a neighbouring fire and helped to kick the ashes about."
In the northern part of Wales, that other grcat Celtic region of Britain, it used also to bc customary for every family to make a great bonfire called Coel Coeth on Hallowc'cn. The fire was kindled on the most conspicuous spot near the house; and when it had ncarly gone out cvery one threw into the ashes a white stone, which he had first marked. Then having said their prayers round the firc, thcy went to bed. Vext morning, as soon as thcy wcrc up, they came to
I A Stewart, in Sinclair's Santistial kindled, and guarded by the male part liewe of Scotland, v. 84 54.
of the family. Societies were formed, ? 11. Gregor, folk-lori of the North either by pique or humour, to scatter Ear of Scotland, p. 167 sq. A different certain tires, and the attack and defence interpretation is put upon this last were often con lucted with art and custom by another writer, who, in with sury" (A. Johnstone, in Sinclair's describing the Hallowe'en customs of Statistica durant of Sivtland, xxi. Buchan, says : “ The hallow fire was 146).
search out the stones, and if any one of them was found to be missing, they had a notion that the person who threw it would die before he saw another Hallowe'en.' A writer on Wales says that “the autumnal fire is still kindled in North Wales, being on the eve of the first day of November, and is attended by many ceremonies; such as running through the fire and smoke, each casting a stone into the fire, and all running off at the conclusion to escape from the black shorttailed sow; then supping upon parsnips, nuts, and apples ; catching up an apple suspended by a string with the mouth alone, and the same by an apple in a tub of water : cach throwing a nut into the fire ; and those that burn bright, betoken prosperity to the owners through the following ycar, but those that burn black and crackle, denote misfortune. On the following morning the stones are scarched for in the fire, and if any be missing, they betide ill to those who threw them in."? According to Professor Rhys, the habit of celebrating Hallowe'en by lighting bonfires on the hills is perhaps not yet extinct in Wales, and men still living can remember how the people who assisted at the bonfires would wait till the last spark was out and then would suddenly take to their heels, shouting at the top of their voices, “ The cropped black sow scize the hindmost !” Thc saying, as Professor Rhys justly remarks, implics that originally one of the company became a victim in dead carnest. Down to the present time the saying is current in Carnarvonshire, where allusions to the cutty black sow are still occasionally made to frighten children. We can now understand why in Lower Brittany every person throws a pebble into the midsummer bonfire. Doubtless here, as in Wales and the Highlands of Scotland, omens of life and death have at one time or other been drawn from the position and state of the pebbles on the morning of All Saints' Day. The custom, thus found among three separate branches of the Celtic
i Pennani's manuscript, quoted by in one of Iloare's notes on the Itinerary. Brand, Popular Antiquities, i. 389 sy. 3 J. Rhys, Celtii. Hathindom, p.
? Sir Richard Colt lloare, The Itin. 515 sq. These Hallowe'en fire-festivals crary of Archbishop Baldwin through in Wales and Scotland can hardly be Talis A.D. MCLXXXVIII. by Giraldus dissevered from the ancient Irish cus. de Barri (London, 1806), ii. 315; tom of kindling a new fire on that day. Brand, Popular Antiquities, i. 390.
See above, p. 253.
stock, probably dates from a period before their dispersion, or at least from a time when alien races had not yet driven home the wedges of separation between them.
But it is time to return to the midsummer festival and to pass from the cloudy homes of the Celt to sunnier climes. All over Spain great bonfires called lumes are still lit on Midsuminer Eve. They are kept up all night, and the children leap over them in a certain rhythmical way which is said to resemble the ancient dances. On the coast, people at this season plunge into the sea ; in the inland districts the villagers go and roll naked in the dew of the meadows, which is supposed to be a sovereign preservative against diseases of the skin. On this evening, too, girls who would pry into the future put a vessel of water on the sill outside their window; and when the clocks strike twelve, thcy break an cgs in the water and sec, or fancy they sec, in the shapes assumed by the pulp, as it blends with the liquid, the likeness of future bridegrooms, castles, coffins, and so forth. But generally, as might perhaps have been expected, the obliging cgg exhibits the features of a bridegroom. In Corsica on the Eve of St. John the people set fire to the trunk of a tree or to a whole trec, and the young men and maidens dance round the blaze, which is called fucaraia. We have scen that at Ozieri, in Sardinia, a great bonfire is kindled on St. John's Eve, and that the young people dance round it.* Passing to Italy, we find that the midsummer fires are still lighted
ili is worth noting that in the French depariment of Deux-Sèvres young people user to assemble in the fichels on All Saints' Day (the first of November) and hindle great fires of ferns, thorns, leaves, and stubble, at which they roasted chestnuts. They also danced round the fires and indulgeil in noisy pastimes. See Baron Dupin, in limoirs publiies par la Sociale korali discutiquaires de franii, iv. (1823), p. 108.
? Letter from Dr. Oiero Acevado of Madril. published in Le Temps, September 1898. An extract from the news. paper was sent me, but without mention of ihe day of the month when it appeared.
The fires on Si. John's Eve in Spain are mentionel also by Brand, Popular Inrquitiis, i. 317
Grimm inferred the custom from a passage in a romance (Dindsche 1/rthologii,' i. 518). To roll in the dew on the morning of St. John's Day is a cure for diseases of the skin in Normandy, Périgord, and the Aivruzzo, as well as in Spain (Lecceur, Esquisses du Bocage Nor. mand, ii. 8; De Vore, Coutumes, mythes et traditions des prorrincos de Franci, p. 150; Finamore, Credenze, Usi i Costumi Abruzzesi, p. 157).
3 Gubernatis, lithologie des Plantis, i. 185.
4 Above, vol. ii. p. 127.
on St. John's Eve in many parts of the Abruzzo. They are commonest in the territory which was inhabited in antiquity by the Vestini; they are rarer in the land of the ancient Marsi, and they disappear entirely in the lower valley of the Sangro. For the most part, the fires are fed with straw and dry grass, and are kindled in the fields near the villages or on high ground. As they blaze up, the people dance round or over them. In leaping across the flames the boys cry out, “St. John, preserve my thighs and legs !” Formerly it used to be common to light the bonfires also in the towns in front of churches of St. John, and the remains of the sacred fire were carried home by the pcople ; but this custom has mostly fallen into disuse. However, at Ceiano the practice is still kept up of taking brands and ashes from the bonfires to the houses, although the fires are no longer kindled in front of the churches, but merely in the streets. At Orvieto the midsummer fires were specially excepted from the prohibition directed against bonfires in general.”
In Greece, the custom of kindling fires on St. John's Eve and jumping over them is said to be still universal. One reason assigned for it is a wish to escape from the fieas.” According to another account, the women cry out, as they leap over the fire, “ I leave my sins behind me." + In Lesbos the fires are usually lighted by threes, and the people spring thrice over them, each with a stone on his head, saying, “I jump the hare's fire, my head a stone!” In Calymnos the midsummer fire is supposed to ensure abundance in the coming year as well as deliverance from Acas. The people dance round the fires singing, with stones on their heads, and then jump over the blaze or the glowing embers. When the fire is burning low, they throw the stones into it; and when it is nearly out, they make crosses on their legs and
i Finmore, Cridince', (sii Costumi water at midsummer (alsove, p. 287). 1670'si (l'alermo, 1990), p. 154 54. ? Grimm, Deutsche 1/ythologii,' i. In the Abruzzo water also is supposedl
518. to acquire certain marvellous and luene- 3 W. R. l'aton, in Folklori, ii. ficent properties on St. John's Nighii. (1891), p. 128. The custom was rellence many people make a point of ported to me when I was in Greece in bathing in the sea or a river at that 1890 (Folk-lore, i. (1990), p. 520). season, especially at the moment of • Grimm, Deutsche llythologii,' i. sonrise. See Finamore, op. cit. PP. 519. 158-160. We may compare the l'ro- ó Georgeakis et l'incau, Folklori di vençal custom of bathing and splashing Lesbos, p. 308.