Beautiful weather, stunning Autumn colours, and 2 of the best Scottish festivals – all in one week.
Late October/ early November is also a school holiday in much of Europe.
This year we introduced children from France and Russia to the fun of Halloween (31st October). In Scotland, children dress up as witches or monsters and go “guising” – visiting neighbours to recite a poem or sing a song, in exchange for sweets. The neighbours seemed to enjoy their introduction to Russian poetry, in Russian but with a useful explanation in English. Our visitors also decorated the house with “spider webs” and a skeleton, and carved pumpkins into scary faces, lit up by candles. Then Helena demonstrated the traditional Halloween games of bobbing for apples and (once your face is wet) fishing for money in a bowl full of flour.
5th November is Guy Fawkes’ Night. This festival is unique to the UK. Bonfires and fireworks celebrate the failure of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament – in 1605. In the words of the nursery rhyme:
“Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
Guy Fawkes was hung, drawn and quartered – not a nice death. 400 years later, we enjoyed Crieff’s massive bonfire and impressive fireworks display.