To a Mountain Daisy
"To a Mountain Daisy", On Turning one Down, With The Plough, in April 1786 is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1786. It was included in the Kilmarnock volume of Burns's poems, published in that year; the poem tells of how the poet, while out with the plough, discovers that he has crushed a daisy's stem. It is similar in some respects to his poem To a Mouse, published in the previous year. In ploughing a field in the early morning, there must have been hundreds of small flowers that were turned down by the plough and why Burns was taken with this particular specimen is a mystery. In a similar way from To a Mouse, Burns compares the daisy's fate to that of humankind, first, in verse six, to a young girl taken in by her lover and in verse seven, to himself; the final stanza is in some ways reminiscent of Andrew Marvell's poem To His Coy Mistress: But at my back I always hear Time's wingèd chariot drawing near
Gilbert Burns (farmer)
Gilbert Burns, the younger brother of Robert Burns the poet, was born at Alloway. He married Jean Breckenridge in 1791, had 6 sons and 5 daughters, died in 1827, aged 66, was buried at Bolton, East Lothian, Scotland. Gilbert's writings have contributed to the bank of knowledge that exists regarding the life of his famous brother. Gilbert's elder brother was Robert Burns the poet, born on 25 January 1759, Gilbert following in 1760, Agnes in 1762, Annabella in 1764, William in 1767, John in 1769 and Isabella in 1771. Gilbert's parents were William Burnes and Agnes Broun. Gilbert was the name of his grandfather on his mother's side. In 1766 the family moved from Alloway near Ayr to Mount Oliphant. Life at Mount Oliphant was hard for Gilbert and he describes in his letters how extreme hard work was the only way that his family could survive and that their diet and life was one of austerity with butcher's meat non existent. In 1777 Gilbert and the family moved to the 130 acre farm at Lochlea where they remained for seven years, during which time the brothers sub-leased a parcel of land from their father where they grew flax.
Gilbert and Robert sub-leased the 118 acre Mossgiel Farm on 11 November 1783 from Gavin Hamilton, who as well as being a writer in Mauchline was the Earl of Loudoun's factor for his estates in the Mauchline area and he himself held the lease on Mossgiel. Gilbert described how Mossgiel was unprofitable and the brothers were forced give up the lease in 1788 and rescue what they could from their joint venture. In 1780 Gilbert was a founder member of the Tarbolton Bachelors' Club; the Irvine Burns Club was presented in 1984 with a letter written by Gilbert that gives an insight into his job and personality. The letter was to Dr Coventry from Gilbert Burns of Grants Braes by Haddington, 15 March 1816 Dear Sir, I am directed by Lady Blantyre to trouble you again to look for the measurement of Eaglescairnie Mains and send it to me for her Ladyship says you are apt to forget; the expense of a new measurement will be inserted subservient to the process at present depending before the other if respecting the fallow of that farm if we cannot soon produce the one made by Dickenson.
Apropos will you be so good as misses no opportunity of getting legal information how for a landlord obliged to remove from the tenants inability to fulfill his engagements is liable to pay for labour done or seed sown on the farm at the time the removal takes place. Gilbert has been described as being methodical, somewhat timid, determined not to offend the gentry, in addition he is regarded by others as lacking his brother’s flair and genius. Dr John McKenzie wrote that Gilbert was capable and knowledgeable, taking after his father in manner and appearance. Gilbert began his education, learning the basics of writing and reading, at William Campbell's school at Alloway Mill however after a short time Campbell closed the school and moved to Ayr where he took charge of the workhouse. Gilbert's father responded by employing John Murdoch, whose father was a schoolmaster, to provide an education, in co-operation with four of his neighbours. John Murdoch regarded Gilbert as being an able student like his brother, however the one most to succeed in life, having a better imagination and a more lively wit than his brother Robert at this time.
Gilbert continued to attend the school after the family had moved to Mount Oliphant and only left when the school was closed in 1768. Gilbert described his time at Mount Oliphant saying Nothing could be more retired than our general manner of living at Mount Oliphant. There were no boys of our own age, or near it, in the neighbourhood. Indeed the greater part of the land in the vicinity was at that time possessed by shopkeepers, people of that stamp, who had retired from business, or who kept their farm in the country at the same time that they followed business in the town, it was recorded by Gilbert that at this time his relationship with his father was such that despite his age he was treated by him as an adult and that their conversation whilst at work covered a wide range of topics intended to educate and to keep him on the straight and narrow in relation to moral behaviour. In 1772 Gilbert was sent on alternate weeks to the Dalrymple parish school following a visit by John Murdoch. Gilbert at this time was reading literature that the average adult today would struggle to appreciate and understand.
Gilbert was not sent to the school at Kirkoswald. On 21 June 1791 Gilbert married Jean Breckenridge of Kilmarnock at Craigie near Ayr with whom he had no less than 11 children, named Agnes, Gilbert, James, Jean, Robert and William. In addition to this large family his mother lived with the family until she died in 1820 at the age of 88, his unmarried sister Annabella was a part of the household, outliving her brother by 5 years. Robert provided Gilbert with sufficient funds to "aliment and educate" Elizabeth Paton Burns, his "dear bought Bess", natural daughter by Elizabeth Paton. Gilbert left Mossgiel Farm in 1798 and farmed at Dinning in Nithsdale for two years where he is recorded as having made fine cheese and introducing the Ayrshire method of dairy farming. Gilbert left Dinning before the lease was up as he was appointed by the son of Frances Dunlop, Captain John Dunlop, as estate manager at Morham West Mains, East Lothian for four years. Isabella Beggs' husband, took up the lease on Dinning.
After a few years at Morham West Mains Gilbert spent the remainder of his days as the factor of the Lennoxlove estates owned by
The Hermitage, Friars Carse
The Hermitage was a folly first built by Captain Robert Riddell of Friars Carse as part of his enthusiasm for antiquities. It is famous for its connection with the bard Robert Burns who through his friendship with Robert Riddell was permitted to use it to compose poetry in this secluded and tranquil sylvan spot. Burns used his diamond point pen to engrave lines on the window pane at the Hermitage following the premature death of Robert Riddell; the original Hermitage fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in 1874. It was further restored to its former glory more recently. Captain Robert Riddell of Glenriddell had built a small summer house, an "ivied cot" folly called the'Hermitage' in the Crow Wood, a secluded part of the estate, just a few fields away from Ellisland; the building was constructed in the mode of a medieval anchorites cell. Burns used the building in this idyllic setting for writing poetry, having been given the key to the gate set in the Ellisland march-dyke and also enjoying drinking sessions here with Robert Riddell as well as sleeping here.
Its appearance in 1805 was similar to its present design minus the crow steps on the gable ends and the roof is thatched. The roofless Hermitage lies close to the Mains Burn on the 1855 OS map and it records a network of paths, a bridge across the Mains Burn and at the main drive junction is marked a statue of an unknown personage and a seat; the circa 1899 OS map appears to shows the rebuilt Hermitage, now roofed and sitting in an enclosure. The seat and statue on the drive are no longer evident. On Robert Riddell's death at the early age of only 39 the Hermitage was allowed to decay, he expressed his shock that the site was not being maintained under Captain Smith's ownership of the estate, for the floor was covered in straw, cattle had broken down the trees and the inscribed pane of glass had gone. It had a single window and fireplace. In around 1870 William Douglas recorded that the only part of the building still standing was part of the east gable. Over the lintel was cut the name'BURNS' in bold letters.
In 1805 however it is recorded that Dr Smith of Friars' Carse had made some repairs to the hermitage and in addition a bay tree had been planted nearby in his memory. A watercolour of the original Hermitage purports to show it situated close to the River Nith and therefore some distance from the present day building, suggesting that the new'Hermitage' was built in a different location, however the 1855 OS map records the'Burns Hermitage' in its present position. Although the original building no longer exists, Mr Thomas Nelson of Friars Carse built another'Hermitage', of a different design, on the same site in 1874; the British Listed Building register sees it as a're-surfaced' building of circa 1790. Adamson visited it in 1879 and records that it contained the rigid form of a monk, with shaven crown, chipped nose, folded hands, lying on its back at the entrance; the building otherwise only contained a small table. The building was restored again and now has an interpretation board detailing its history and a trail guide indicates its location.
The Hermitage lies within the private grounds of Friars Carse Hotel. By 28 June 1788 Robert Burns had written "Verses in Friars' Carse Hermitage" and a few months he expanded upon these, all of which helped to cement his friendship with his host. Burns engraved the following lines on the Hermitage window pane to the memory of his friend Robert Riddell: The original pane was preserved and is now in the Ellisland Farm Museum, having been removed by a new owner of the property and in time coming up for sale at the death of an old lady in 1835 and being purchased for five guineas; the new building's window had the same lines inscribed upon it, however they are now in the mansion house and the Hermitage's windows now have no inscription. The second window of the 1874 building had the following verse inscribed upon it; the Hermitage is a Category B listed building. Friars Carse at one time held the original Burns manuscripts The Whistle and Lines Written in the Hermitage. Robert Burns World Federation Burns Clubs Notes Sources and bibliography BBC -'Written in Friars Carse Hermitage Accessed: 2015-01-02 Commentary on Robert Burns and'The Hermitage' at Friars' Carse
Comin' Thro' the Rye
"Comin' Thro' the Rye" is a poem written in 1782 by Robert Burns. The words are put to the melody of the Scottish Minstrel Common' Frae The Town; this is a variant of the tune to which Auld Lang Syne is sung—the melodic shape is identical, the difference lying in the tempo and rhythm. G. W. Napier, in an 1876 Notes and Queries, wrote that, The original words of "Comin' thro' the rye" cannot be satisfactorily traced. There are many different versions of the song; the version, now to be found in the Works of Burns is the one given in Johnson's Museum, which passed through the hands of Burns. The protagonist, "Jenny", is not further identified, but there has been reference to a "Jenny from Dalry" and a longstanding legend in the Drakemyre suburb of the town of Dalry, North Ayrshire, holds that "comin thro' the rye" describes crossing a ford through the Rye Water at Drakemyre to the north of the town, downstream from Ryefield House and not far from the confluence of the Rye with the River Garnock.
When this story appeared in the Glasgow Herald in 1867, it was soon disputed with the assertion that everyone understood the rye to be a field of rye, wet with dew, which fits better with other stanzas that substitute "wheat" and "grain" for "rye". An alternative suggestion is that "the rye" was a long narrow cobblestone paved lane, prone to puddles of water. While the original poem is full of sexual imagery, an alternative version makes this more explicit, it has a different chorus, referring to a phallic "staun o' staunin' graith", "kiss" is replaced by "fuck", Jenny's "thing" in stanza four is identified as her "cunt". A weet – wet B draigl't – draggled C gin – if, should D cry – call out E warl – world F ken – know G ain – own Even the "cleaner" version of the Burns lyrics is bawdy, it is this one, or an "Anglized" version of it, most "covered"; the title of the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger comes from the poem's name. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, misinterprets a part of this poem to mean "if a body catch a body" rather than "if a body meet a body."
He keeps picturing children playing in a field of rye near the edge of a cliff, him catching them when they start to fall off. The first recording of the song was made in 1912 by Marcella Sembrich; the song was covered by Marian Anderson in 1944 The song was covered by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956 as "Rockin' Through The Rye". Bill Haley had updated the lyrics to a more 1950's hip slang. In Sept 1956, when the record was climbing the UK charts, the single was banned by the BBC from its playlist because they felt the song went against traditional British standards; the record peaked at No. 3 on the UK charts. The song is covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks for their 1960 album Around the World with The Chipmunks. Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album 101 Gang Songs The song was sung by The Real McKenzies for their 2005 album 10,000 Shots; the song is sung by Ava Gardner in the 1953 John Ford film Mogambo. The song was parodied by Allan Sherman on his 1963 album the Celebrity; the song is sung by Julie London on her 1959 album.
Eddi Reader, Sings the Songs of Robert Burns, 2009. Digitised copy of Comin' thro' the rye in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum pp. 430–431, "Written for this Work by Robert Burns", printed between 1787 and 1803. Published online by National Library of Scotland. JPEG, PDF, XML versions. Public domain recording by Alma Gluck
The Drukken, Drucken Steps or Drunken Steps were stepping stones across the Red Burn in Irvine, North Ayrshire and are associated with Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Drukken is used on the commemorative cairn plaque, but Druken or Drucken may be used; the Drukken, or in English, the'Drunken Steps' in the old Eglinton Woods near Stanecastle at NS 329 404, were a favourite haunt of Burns and his friend Richard Brown whilst the two were in Irvine in 1781 – 82. A commemorative cairn off Bank Street at MacKinnon Terrace in Irvine, next to the expressway, stands several hundred yards from the site of the Drukken stepping stones across the Red Burn said to be the site of Saint Bryde's, Brides or Bridget's well; until 2009 it was thought that the Drukken Steps had been buried beneath the road surface of the Kilwinning bypass. In 1799 the Earl closed the road beyond the Drucken Steps to'protect' his new policies, providing a diversion which ran via Knadgerhill; the stepping stones remained in situ without any bridge present until at least the late 1960s.
The Red Burn was wider with a greater flow at that time, the flow would have been greater when Littlestane Loch, located near the old farm of that name, still existed. The original plaque had been inserted in the old estate boundary wall at the site of the stepping stones, having been donated to the Irvine Burns Club by Sir Andrew R. Duncan of Irvine in 1927; the name'Drukken' steps derives from a person's drunken gait as they stepped from stone to stone whilst crossing the burn. Seven or more stones were set in the Red Burn, much wider than now. Burns himself used the Scots spelling'Drucken' rather than'Drukken' or'Druken'; the Scots word'drouk', meaning'drench' is another possible derivation. Strawhorn refers to the site as the'Drunken Steps' or'Drucken Steps'; the lower inscription on the commemorative cairn states: Eglinton Woods, Drukken Steps, Favourite Walk of Robert Burns and his sailor friend Richard Brown. "Do you recollect a Sunday we spent together in Eglinton Woods? R. B." 30 December 1787.
Irvine Burns Club, 25 January 1927. The upper inscription reads: This cairn was erected for Irvine Burns Club to mark their 150th anniversary and to re-locate the plaque placed at the Drukken Steps / Saint Bride's Well. 700 yards north west of this spot by W & C French Ltd, builders of Irvine by-pass, January 1976. The'Steps Road' in Irvine commemorates the Drukken steps; the Drukken Steps therefore were stepping stones on the course of an old Road a Toll Road, which ran from the west end of Irvine through the Eglinton policies to Kilwinning and Stevenston via Milnburn or Millburn. The name may be a personal name or may relate to the Scots word for a fence or hedge as the building lay close to the boundary of the estate.55°37.902′N 004°39.355′W The Eglinton estate wall used to cut across the burn and join up with the perimeter wall of the cemetery. The remains of this wall can still be seen at the site of the stepping stones and it was to this wall that the original commemorative plaque had been attached.
No gate or door existed here. The nearby Knadgerhill Cemetery has one wall built from a continuation of this estate wall. Land in the vicinity of the Drukken Steps was locally known as the Spittal Meadow, held in 1666 by the Laird of Corsbie or Crosbie and Robert Woodside or Robert of Woodside. Spittal was a term chiefly applied to lands, the revenues of which supported a hospice but, in some instances, the reference maybe to the site of a hospice for the infirm, etc; this name is recorded in a document dated 1542. This could have formed part of the lands of the nunnery at Stanecastle which could have been the site of the spittal in question. Other spittals in Ayrshire were located in Ayr, Symington, Maybole, Mauchline and Kilmarnock. A Chapel of Saint Bridget near Stanecastle is mentioned in 1417, however this seems to have been secularised by the early 17th century. A secondary source makes reference to a chapel at the site of the Hill Cottage and it is indicated that the well at this site produced an abundance of water.
A Cruceford or Crossford was located further down the Redburn on the Knights Templar lands of Redburn where the burn now crosses under the main road near Kidsneuk and Rood meadow. Roodmeadow was held by William Cuninghame and Robert Hamilton in 1666; the term ` rood' may refer to the specific wooden cross used in Christ's crucifixion. Knadgerhill was only acquired by the Earls of Eglinton in 1851 when the burgh excambied part of the lands of Bogside Flats for them; this allowed the construction of the new entrance to the policies at Stanecastle via Long Drive. Coal heughs were shallow pits and in 1686 they had been sunk at Doura and Armsheugh, the coal being taken down to Irvine via the Drukken steps or via Stanecastle. During the years 1781–82 Robert Burns lived in Irvine, During this time he took regular walks into the Eglinton Woods via the old Irvine to Kilwinning toll road and the Drukken Steps and back via the site of the old Saint Brides or Bryde's Well at Stanecastle. Robert Burns wrote to Richard Brown or Ritchie Broun, on 30 December 1787, saying..do you remember a Sunday we spent together in Eglinton Woods?
You told me, on my repeating some verses to you that you wondered I could resist the temptation of sending verses of such merit to a magazine. B
The Battle of Sherramuir
"The Battle of Sherramuir" is a song written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns about the Battle of Sheriffmuir which occurred in Scotland in 1715 at the height of the Jacobite rising in England and Scotland. It was written when Burns toured the Highlands in 1787 and first published in The Scots Musical Museum, 1790, it was written to be sung to the'Cameronian Rant'. The song was written as an adaptation of a broadside by John Barclay, called "Dialogue Between Will Lick-Ladle and Tom Clean-Cogue". Burns knew that the Battle of Sheriffmuir had ended so inconclusively that it was unclear which side had won; that knowledge formed the basis for the theme of the song, written as an account of the battle by two shepherds taking contrary views of the events that unfolded. One of the shepherds believes that "the red-coat lads wi' black cockades" routed the rebels, painting a fearful picture of how they managed to "hough the Clans like nine-pin kyles"; the other shepherd is just as convinced that the Jacobites "did pursue / The horsemen back to Forth, man" with the eventual result that "...mony a huntit, poor Red-coat / For fear amaist did swarf, man."
Dissatisfied with the first published version of the song, Burns revised and re-wrote it sometime after 1790. The revised version was published after his death by his editor, James Currie M. D. in The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns: With Explanatory and Glossarial Notes. It is the revised version of the song, published by Currie, regarded as the definitive version of the song; until the source used by James Currie to publish the revised version of the song was unclear. The academic, James Kinsley did not disclose the source for his analysis of the differences between the original and revised definitive version. In July 2007 the original manuscript containing Burns' revisions and amendments re-surfaced in the manuscript collection of the renowned Swiss manuscript collector Albin Schram; the manuscript was included as one of the most significant items in the auction of the Albin Schram Collection of Autograph Letters at Christie's in London which took place on 3 July 2007. It was acquired by an anonymous collector.
The manuscript, in Burns' clear hand contained written notes by Currie thereby proving its provenance. The justification for the publication by Currie of all of Burns' revisions are contained in the manuscript. Burns dropped the chorus line of the original and made significant changes to stanza five and stanza six. In the revised stanza five, the more sceptical of the two shepherds blames the "Angus lads" for being too fond of their wooden bowls of porridge "cogs o'brose" to risk death in battle: "The Angus lads had nae gude will,That day their neebours' blude to spill,For fear, by foes, that they should lose,Their cogs o'brose; the last two lines are evidence of Burns' alteration of the original stanza five which read: "Their cogs o'brose, they scar'd at blows,And homeward fast did flee, man." In stanza six, Burns changed the original lines: "Lord Panmuir is slain,Or in his en'mies' hands man," To negate the more general observation about "en'mies" to provide a much more specific account: "Or fall'n in Whiggish hands, man."
That Scottish Tories gave their lives, while Whigs ran away, is the final wry observation, enlarged from three lines to four: "Then ye may tell, how pell an mell,By red claymores and musket's knell,Wi'dying yell, how Tories fell,And Whigs to hell,Flew off in frighted bands, man." However, a pen stroke through these lines indicates Burns' dissatisfaction with them and his earlier three-line version is allowed to stand on the final page: "Say, pell mell, wi' muskets' knellHow Tories fell, Whigs to hell,Flew off in frighted bands, man." The manuscript shows that Currie adopted the new four-line version, in the editions he published from 1800 onwards, despite the fact that Burns had rejected it. He adopted the title used in his own endorsement, omitted one of the best lines in stanza two, made minor corrections. There are other deleted lines or half lines. On the one hand, some deletions and insertions seem to result from Burns writing in haste and either miscopying or misremembering the original.
All of the variations between the original version published in the Scottish Musical Museum and the definitive version published by Currie after Burns' death, including punctuation, are noted in James Kinsley's modern scholarly edition of "The Poems and Songs". Kinsley, omits to note that it was this manuscript, drafted by Burns, which led to the definitive version of the song published by James Currie. On 23 February 2009 the manuscript was acquired by the National Library of Scotland from Adams Hamilton the Washington, D. C. based historical manuscript dealers. It was on display from 24–25 February 2009 at a Burns symposium in the US capital's Library of Congress. Cate Newton, Director of Collections and Research said, "We are delighted to acquire the only known manuscript of The Battle of Sherra-moor". Alex Salmond, the First Minister, who saw the manuscript at the symposium said, "I'm delighted that this unique piece of Burns history will be coming home to Scotland in this, the 250th anniversary year of our national Bard."
Digitised copy of Battle of Sherra-moor in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, Vol. III, 1790, from National Library of Scotland. JPEG, PDF, XML versions; the Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns: With Explanatory and Glossarial Notes. The Jacobite Song: Political Myth and National Identity, William Donaldson, Aberdeen University Press, Aberdeen, 1988 Poems and Songs, James Kinsley, Oxford University Press
Halloween or Hallowe'en known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in several countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints and all the faithful departed, it is believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals the Gaelic festival Samhain. Some believe, that Halloween began as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows' Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.
Some Christians abstained from meat on All Hallows' Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, soul cakes. The word is of Christian origin; the word "Hallowe'en" means "Saints' evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve. In Scots, the word "eve" is and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, Hallow Een evolved into Hallowe'en. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old English "All Hallows' Eve" is itself not seen until 1556. Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots. Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that "there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived". Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for'summer's end'."Samhain was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and was celebrated on 31 October – 1 November in Ireland and the Isle of Man.
A kindred festival was held at the same time of year by the Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany. For the Celts, the day began at sunset. Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of Welsh literature; the names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century, are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween. Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the'darker half' of the year. Like Beltane/Calan Mai, it was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned; this meant the Aos Sí, the'spirits' or'fairies', could more come into this world and were active. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as "degraded versions of ancient gods whose power remained active in the people's minds after they had been replaced by religious beliefs"; the Aos Sí were both respected and feared, with individuals invoking the protection of God when approaching their dwellings.
At Samhain, it was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink, or portions of the crops, were left outside for the Aos Sí; the souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set by the fire to welcome them; the belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year and must be appeased seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world. In 19th century Ireland, "candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the dead. After this the eating and games would begin". Throughout Ireland and Britain, the household festivities included rituals and games intended to foretell one's future regarding death and marriage. Apples and nuts were used in these divination rituals, they included apple bobbing, nut roasting, scrying or mirror-gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water, dream interpretation, others.
Special bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them. Their flames and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, were used for divination. In some places, torches lit from the bonfire were carried sunwise around homes and fields to protect them, it is suggested that the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic – they mimicked the Sun, helping the "powers of growth" and holding back the decay and darkness of winter. In Scotland, these bonfires and divination games were banned by