A Scottish Halloween - Neeps, Guisers and Protection.

Mabel McLean
October 27, 2021
A Scottish Halloween - Neeps, Guisers and Protection.

It’s the season for all things spooky.

October 31st is known as All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain (pronounced sow-inn), Beltane to name just a few.  All Hallow’s Eve in Scotland is steeped in Celtic folklore.   And, Since Team Mclean_FS is based in Scotland, we’d like to share some of our traditions...In Scotland:

  • We carve turnips (neeps) - it’s incredibly hard to carve turnips due to their hard flesh but pumpkins aren’t a native species.  The turnip lanterns are then lit to ward off evil spirits.  [caption id="attachment_439" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
A turnip (neep) lantern.
A traditional neep lantern.
  • In Scotland t’s not “Trick-or-Treat” but “Guising” (it was done to “hide” the young from evil spirits at this particular time of year). It differs from trick or treat as the children tell a joke, story or perform a trick in order to earn their reward.
  • Dookin’ (ducking) for apples (it’s the most plentiful crop seasonally speaking) where a dozen or so apples are placed in a barrel of water.  The challenge is to remove an apple using only their mouths.  
  • Fuarag (foo-ar-ak) is largely forgotten except within Gaelic speaking communities. Various objects are hidden in a bowl of oatmeal or mashed potatoes, a blindfolded guest is given a spoon to find an object.  Whatever was found was then used to “tell the future”.  A ring would mean an upcoming engagement/wedding, a thimble would indicate spinsterhood, and a button for bachelorhood.
  • And a more modern tradition...switching off the lights and pretending to be out to avoid the trick-or-treaters....thanks Fiona for this new tradition.  For some households, it can be triggering for pets and humans, to hear the doorbell ringing constantly.  It's become normal practice to avoid houses that aren't decorated or lit.  
For Team MFS, we have a tradition of dressing up our pets…

It’s all fun games to ward off evil with guising and lanterns but there are other ways to protect your home and your children too.  Critical Illness Cover as part of a parents’ insurance policy is offered by numerous protection providers to your children. Some providers will cover from birth onwards but, others may only start the cover from when your baby is 30 days and older.  Children are usually covered up to the age of 18 and sometimes 23 if they are in full-time education.  Your provider may also grant access to specialist services for your child such as being granted a second medical opinion from a medical expert. What we would suggest is; don’t wait for a scary surprise, check your policy cover!When it comes to your home and prized possessions you will need Buildings and/or Contents insurance. Check the fine print but, not sure if paranormal activity is covered though... best to ask your current insurance provider that question! And not your palm reader.  When looking at insurance for your home and what’s inside it you need to be mindful of the following:

  • What high-value goods do you have?  Family heirlooms may require a recent valuation from a reputable source.
  • What is the excess you need to pay?  The excess is the amount you pay before your claim for goods is processed. This can be upwards of £50.

If you're a landlord or a tenant, there are other types of insurances that will be more suitable for your needs.  The best course of action is to knock on the door of your Protection Advisor for your treat.Whichever way you spend your Halloween, have fun and enjoy eating all the sweets just not all in one night!  Remember to tell the children the evil spirits ate them.

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