Saints, Souls, and Haints: Still Nuts

Photo credit: Steffen Zahn
Photo credit: Steffen Zahn

Jonkheer L. C. van Panhuys, in Proceedings, Vol. 2 (p. 698, 1904), from the Internationaler Amerikanisten-Kongress held in Stuttgart in 1904, said:

In the different names [for Halloween] we find also an explanation. The first of November, still called New-Years day on the island of Man, was the new years day on the beginning of the winter half year among Fins, Scottish, Danes, Swedish, Britons and Germans; and called Calan gaeaf, i. e. the Calends of winter, by the Welsh and Manx, Samhanach and Samhein, the feast of the sun, by Scottish and Irish. Hollantide (Hallow-tide) was the English name in Manx. In Whitby and Cleveland the Halloween evening is called according to the surviving custom Nut crack night. A rhyme in Cleveland says:

Nutty crack Neet Ah mount forget
Near neets afvoar Mart’ mas day
We hav’ a feast o’ happles an’ nuts
An how we krack away!

Halloween postcard nightmareAs happened with many others the heathen feast of November 1st was proclaimed by the clergy to be a Christian one.

Note: for the next two weeks, I’m working on a couple of intensive writing projects, so “Gherkins & Tomatoes” will of necessity be brief, with a look at “Saints, Souls, and Haints” in honor of the ancient traditions of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. “Haints” comes from a slang term used for “ghost” in the American South.

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