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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HALLOW, n.2 Also Hal(l)o'-, Hal(l)a-, Halli-. In Sc. and n.Eng. dial. = All Saints', in the following combs.: †1. Hallow Court, a trades court meeting held on All Saints Day; 2. (1) Hallo(w)day, Halli-, All Saints' Day, 1st November (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1905 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. 123, halliday; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ags., Arg. 1956). Also used attrib.; †(2) any saint's day, a feast day, holiday; 3. Halloween; hallaleen (Ags., Edb., Dmf. 2000s),  the eve of All Saints' Day, i.e. 31st October, in the old Celtic calendar the last day of the year and the first of winter, when witches and the powers of darkness were supposed to hold revels; subsequently the night on which bonfires and various traditional rites of divination were held as described e.g. in Burns's poem Halloween. The evening is now celebrated mainly by children who dress up as Guisers, q.v., and go about with turnip lanterns begging for money, nuts and apples. See further M. M. Banks Cal. Customs Scot. (1941) III. 108–175. Often used attrib. Gen.Sc. Auld Hallowe'en is celebrated on the same date in Old Style, i.e. 11th November. Also †halyeen, halle'en, hallaeven and comb. hallowe'en's nicht. [ne.Sc., Ayr. hɑl(ɑ)′i:n: Per., Fif., Rxb. hɑle-, Lth., Bwk. hǫle-]; 4. halloweve, hal(l)eve = 3. (Uls.2 1930, “Halloween never being used except in educated circles,” Uls. 1956); 5. Hallow-fair, a market held on 1st November in certain places, e.g. at Edinburgh where it was the occasion of a large cattle-market and where the name still survives (Sc. 1700 Acts Parl. Scot. X. 205). Also shortened form hallow (Edb. 1856 Edb. Ev. Courant (13 Nov.) Suppl.); 6. Hallow-fire, a bonfire kindled on Halloween; 7. Hal(l)owmas(s), the festival of All Hallows or All Saints (Sh., Ags. 1956). Hence Hallowmass Ra(i)de, an assembly of witches supposed to have been held at this time (Sc. 1825 Jam.). See Raid. Now obs. in Eng.; 8. Hallow tyde, = 2.1. Sc. 1733 Lumsden & Aitken Hammermen of Gsw. (1912) 266:
Received at the Hallow Court . . . £29. 2.
Sc. 1783 Ib. 168:
The Hallow Court being the usual Court for revising and making New Laws.
2. (1) Sc. c.1700 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 2:
Silver and gold which uses to be very common amongst all the people from hallow-day till Candlemass that the rents be cleared.
Bnff. 1703 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith (1880) 83:
To keep this with all other collections till Hallow day, to supply the indigencie of the poor in the winter.
Sc. 1783 Lumsden & Aitken Hammermen of Gsw. (1912) 171:
We . . . have of late been informed of sundrie Acts which was made at the last Halloday Court.
Sc. a.1792 Tam Lin in Child Ballads No. 39. xxv.:
But the night is Halloween, lady, The morn is Hallowday.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 233–4:
He . . . sen's me hale allenerly at hallo'-day, an' beltan as muckle's pay for my bit house an' yard.
Crm. 1858 H. Miller Schools 292:
We had completed all our work ere Hallowday.
(2) Sc. 1760 Wife of Usher's Well in Child Ballads No. 79. B. i.:
The hallow days o Yule are come, The nights are lang an dark.
3. Sc. 1745 Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine III. 73:
We design to go out of town to Sir Robert Mortons on Thursday for a few days to keep our “halyeen.”
Ayr. 1786 Burns Hallowe'en ii.:
Some merry, friendly, countra folks, Together did convene, To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks, An' haud their Halloween.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 V. 84–5:
On the evening of the 31st of October, O.S. . . . Heath, broom, and dressings of flax, are tied upon a pole: This faggot is then kindled; one takes it upon his shoulders, and running, bears it round the village . . . When the first faggot is burnt out, a second is bound to the pole, and kindled. . . . This is Halloween, and is a night of great festivity.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
In some parts of Scotland it is customary on this evening for young people to kindle fires on the top of hills or rising grounds. A fire of this kind they call a halloween bleeze.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery iv.:
They that are born on Hallowe'en whiles see mair than ither folk.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) vi.:
I never would play, on Halloween night, at anything else but douking for apples, burning nuts, pulling kail-runts, foul water and clean, drapping the egg, or trying who was to be your sweetheart out of the lucky bag.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales 60:
My hair got up wi a jiffy, for I mindit 'at it was Hallowe'en's nicht, when fley'd things scattert at liberty owre a' the lan'.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 168:
During the burning of the [Halloween] fire and the scattering of the ashes, the half-yearly servants on the farm, if they intended changing masters, sang: — This is Hallaeven, The morn is Halladay.
Gall. 1881 L. B. Walford Dick Netherby i.:
Midnight on the 11th of November, known to the Scottish people as Old Hallowe'en Night.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 40:
I had mind it was Halloween . . . the wee callans were at it already, rinning aboot wi' their fause-faces on and their bits o' turnip lanthrons in their haun.
Abd. 1923 B.R. M'Intosh Scent o' the Broom 35:
Canty dame wi' kindly looks, Ye hae fairins in yer neuks, Aipples reid, or aipples green, Up, and gie's oor Halloween!
Sc. 1929 J. G. Frazer Golden Bough 656:
Among the British Celts the chief fire-festivals of the year appear certainly to have been those of Beltane and Hallowe'en.
Fif. 1954 Fife Herald (27 Oct.) 2:
Jock's sittin' here slicin' the inside oot o' a neep tae mak' a Hallowe'en lantern.
Gsw. 1975 Malcolm McCormick Billy Connolly, Bring on the Big Yin (1977) 49:
Urye comin' tae ra Hallaleen pairty?
D'ye no' need tae huvva false face?
You'll dae as ye are.
Gsw. 1996 Michael Munro The Complete Patter 69:
Hallaleen A local variant of Halloween: 'When Ah saw the get-up she wis gaun oot in Ah thought it must be Hallaleen.'
4. Cai. 1736 J. T. Calder Sketches (1842) 231:
Thomas Harper, in Seatter, delated for Kaill-plucking, superstitiously, on Halloweve.
5. Edb. 1735 Broadsheet (4 Oct.):
Whatever Maid shall keep her in Milkness shall have a handsome Pair of Stays . . . to her Hallow Fair.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (1925) 20:
At Hallow-fair, whare browsters rare Keep gude ale on the gantries.
Edb. 1824 Royal Sc. Minstr. 121:
The King o' Lunnon's landed there, And mony hunder wi' him, Droving like stots to Hallow fair.
Peb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 III. 143:
Twenty to thirty black cattle, bought in at Hallow-Fair.
Ayr. 1852 Ayr Advertiser (28 Oct.) 5:
Maybole. Hallow Fair. . . . The chief and almost the only business now transacted at this fair is the hiring of farm and domestic servants.
Edb. 1884 R. F. Hardy Jock Halliday xi.:
A set o' tinkler folk traikin' about wi' their bauskets, like it was Hallow Fair!
Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 26:
It was a magnet of such irresistible force that even yet the remark may be heard from Doric lips: — “He's in an awfu' hurry, he's surely bound for Hallow Fair!”
Edb.4 1956:
Hallowfair is still held with “maimed rites”, at the Gorgie cattle-market, Edinburgh. It was held in the Grassmarket in my boyhood, about the late 1900s, and I believe that Hallowfair gingerbread could then still be bought in a baker's shop in Stockbridge.
6. Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 146:
Now the hallow-fire, when kindled, is attended by children only.
Abd. 1883 Folk-Lore Jnl. I. 26–7:
After the Hallow-Fires were consumed, . . . some were in the habit of gathering together the ashes, and covering them up — “ristin the halla-fire” — and placing in the ashes a small stone to represent each member of the household. If the stone which represented a member was not found, that member would be removed by death before the next Hallow-Fire was kindled.
7. Ags. 1718 R. Finlayson Arbroath Documents (1923):
James Couie for keeping of the Knok from halamass last . . . £0. 13. 4.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (1925) 20:
At Hallowmas, whan nights grow lang, And starnies shine fu' clear.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 123:
As bleak-fac'd Hallowmass returns.
Dmf. 1816 Scots Mag. (May) 347:
The “awsume trystes” where the demonology of a whole country assembled, are yet pointed out . . . Their annual processions were termed “hallowmass raides.”
Ork. 1893 Sc. Antiquary 20:
They were to be wedded a month after Hallomass.
Abd. 1901 Sc. N. & Q. III. 90:
During Her Majesty's long sojourn in the autumn of each year, there was observed in Crathie, at Hallowmas, the ancient practice of burning the witch.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 107:
A'm tinkin he'll be Halomas afore some o' da aits is loose.
Fif. 1956:
If you went to someone's house, and they produced an unexpectedly large supply of cakes and stuff, you would say “It's sharely Hallamass,” “Hallamas” implying plenty.
8. Wgt. 1713 Session Rec. Whithorn MS. (7 June):
Which chyld was begot by him . . . about a forthnight before Hallow tyde last bypast.

[O.Sc. hallow, a saint, from a.1400, hallow-court, from 1622, hallowday, from 1562, hallowevin, from 1564, hallowmes, from 1530.]

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"Hallow n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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