Halloween in Scotland: 13 ancient customs and concepts of Halloween lost in today’s world, remembering Samhain

Halloween may be celebrated worldwide nowadays, but its origins started with the Celts - one of Scotland’s ancient ancestors that celebrated the frightful festival with customs completely unique to what we see in today’s world.

Modern customs like carving pumpkins or ‘trick-or-treating’ that we see in today’s Halloween do not originate from the Scots nor our Celtic neighbours in regions like Ireland. Halloween (or ‘Samhain’ as it was known) was serious business in ancient Scotland as it marked the weakening of the barrier between our world and the spirits’ which posed the very real threat of ghosts or demons threatening people or their land.

According to the Celtic calendar, this festival ushered in the dawn of winter associated with death while marking the end of the harvesting season of summer associated with life. This is also why the colours orange and black feature so prominently during Halloween as orange symbolises the warmth of the harvest season while black represents the bitter cold winter.

Here are thirteen ancient customs or concepts of Halloween to show how it was traditionally celebrated in Scotland unlike what we see today in places like the US; Oidhche Shamhna shona dhut (Scottish Gaelic for Happy Halloween!)