The New York Times/Halloween
The great Scottish festival of Halloween recurs this evening. It is one of the many occasions made immortal by the poet BURNS. In Scotland, and all over the world where there are Scotch families, the festival is still observed, although in a modified form from that in which it was original ly celebrated in the rural districts of the country which gave birth to the superstitions associated with the occasion. A simple reunion of friendsnow marks the occasion, at which variety of innocent exercises, including the telling of ghost-stories, "ducking" for apples, burning hazelnutsand prophesying fortunes generally fill up the pleasant hours of the evening. According to old traditions, Halloween was a night on which ghosts and witches made their appearance on this mundane sphere in various shapes and for various purposes, boding good or evil to those who witnessed them. These superstitions are described in a very pleasant manner by BURNS, whose poem is a literal description of the manner in which Halloween was celebrated in his time. in the Scottish citiesand towns the boys form themselves into long processions, each bearing hollowed turnips with devices marked on the shell and illuminated by candles while the girls form in the same manner, bearing tall "kail" stalks (curly cabbages) having candles burning in the centres of the heads, and both boys and girls singing as they move along;
"Halloween, a nicht o' teen,
A caunnel in a custock," &c.
In certain portions of Ireland the Hallowe'en festival is celebrated with the same due regard to the superstitions associated with it, and there it marks the eve of All-hallows or All Saints' Day, a fact which obtains for the "eve" a more sober respect than that with which it is entered elsewhere. In some portions of this country where there are little colonies of Scotch and Nnorth of Ireland people, the night of the 31st of October is invariable made the occasion of pleasant reunions of the kind we have alluded to.