Hallowe'en Jig

J.M. Wright and Edward Scriven illustration to Robert Burns' poem "Hallowe'en" from The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing the Poems, Songs, and Correspondence, c. 1841

Halloween

Oct 31

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Hallowe'en
Special Theme Collection
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Hallowe'en Jig
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

Amang the bonie winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear;
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
An’ shook his Carrick spear;
Some merry, friendly, country-folks
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks,
An’ haud their Halloween"

~ Robert Burns, Halloween, 1785

Happy Dancing Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en Jig

Robert Burns' poem, "Hallowe'en" is one of his longer poems, and employs a mixture of Scots and English.  It is a treasure trove of Scottish folklore and Hallowe'en customs.

According to Burns, Halloween is "thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands".

From Footnoted Folklore:

"In his famous autobiographical letter to Dr. John Moore in 1787, Burns testified that his wide knowledge of Scottish folk beliefs concerning the supernatural 'owed much to an old Maid of my Mother’s, remarkable for her ignorance, credulity, and superstition'. He continues that 'She had, I suppose, the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, deadlights, wraiths, apparitions … and other trumpery.'"

The poem begins:

Upon that night, when fairies light

  On Cassilis Downans dance,                         

Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,                

  On sprightly coursers prance;           

Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,                       

  Beneath the moon’s pale beams;

There, up the cove, to stray and rove,

  Amang the rocks and streams

To sport that night;

Amang the bonie winding banks,

  Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear;                 

Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,

  An’ shook his Carrick spear;

Some merry, friendly, country-folks

  Together did convene,

To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks,          

  An’ haud their Halloween

Fu’ blythe that night.

For the full text, click here.

For an English translation, click here.

 

And for a scholarly analysis of the poem, click the stained glass of Robert Burns below. 

Happy Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en Jig
Hallowe'en Jig

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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