Showing posts from October, 2023

Halloween Traditions in South Uist

A Photo of Fuarag South Uist has long been celebrated for its Halloween traditions, so splendidly captured by folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw in the 1930s. But what of those traditions today? And what do the shifting seasonal customs of children tell us about contemporary folk life? I remember the first Halloween in South Uist when I was visited by children. The initial group were welcomed inside to each give a performance – this year’s Mòd Gaelic song, a joke or the like – before getting their sweeties ( recte  candy). A later group knocked at the door yelling “trick or treat”. I was lucky, in retrospect, that no children came with masks on. Those who do, remain silent until their identity is guessed by the adults. Having only recently arrived in the island, I would have had little chance at identifying the children correctly. We would have been there all night, and no one would have got their sweeties. The strategic diversity utilised by the children in attaining their sweeties presents

100 years of Celtic Studies in the Netherlands

  ‘100 years Celtic in Utrecht’, art made by Merel Reintjes This year, the International Congress of Celtic Studies (ICCS) was organised by Utrecht University. That was  because this year marks the centenary of the study of Celtic languages and culture in Utrecht (the Netherlands). The first Dutch professor of Celtic, Anton Gerard van Hamel, established the Chair of Celtic Studies in 1923.  Since then, a lot has happened. Celtic studies have a well-established place in education and research in the   Netherlands right now, but this wasn’t always the case, as we have known some turbulent times. After every   time that the study of Celtic languages was threatened to disappear over the past 100 years, we managed to   survive and even thrive. But how did that happen? Why do we have the opportunity to study Celtic languages   and culture in the Netherlands (of all places)? Even though Celtic has been studied in Utrecht for 100 years, the Celtic languages have been studied in the   Low Count