Là Fhèill Mìcheil

While there is a relative abundance of evidence for Midsummer being celebrated in Ireland in comparison to Scotland, quite the opposite can be said for Là Fhèill Mìcheil, or Michaelmas, on September 29th.

Falling close to the traditional date for the autumn equinox (on the 25th), the feast day of Saint Michael was the Quarter Day that saw the official start of autumn in mainland Britain, and as such (in a secular sense) was concerned with the holding of courts, paying rents, and feasting.1 Under Anglo-Norman influence, the same practice was introduced into Ireland, but resisted in many parts in favour of keeping Samhainn as the traditional time for settling such legal matters.2

Là Fhèill Mìcheil in Scotland

The Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace), traditionally harvested for Là Fhèill Mìcheil, by Theophilos Papadopoulos

The Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace), traditionally harvested for Là Fhèill Mìcheil, by Theophilos Papadopoulos

Of all the festivals, and the customs associated with them, Carmichael provides us with the most explicit detail for Là Fhèill Mìcheil. In looking at the details of the day, we can see just how ritualised and important every act and aspect of significant days such as this were; the celebrations began with the baking of the struan on the eve, followed by an early Mass and then a breakfast of the struan (strùthan, or strùdhan in Gaelic3) and lamb, specially killed for the occasion. After the breakfast came horse-racing and a procession of the area (usually round the local church and back to the village centre, but always sunwise), followed by the exchanging of gifts such as struan and specially harvested wild carrots, and then an evening of dancing, singing, and more gift-giving. From the making of the struan, to its eating; from the harvesting of the wild carrots, to their gifting; from the sunwise processions and the horse-racing, to the dancing; everything had their little rituals and blessings to accompany them.

Some of these customs appear to have been particularly relevant to the feast of St Michael (or at least the time at which the festival fell on), whereas others appear to have been influenced by the harvest season in general, and may have become attached to the day after drifting from nearby Quarter Days (i.e. Lùnastal and Samhainn) to become associated with a popular saint instead. For one, seeing as St Michael is heavily associated with horses (and the sea), it’s no surprise to find that they formed a large part of the focus as far as the festivities in Scotland were concerned,4 but it is perhaps significant that horses were also associated with the festivities of Lùnastal. In this case, as in others (such as the baking of the struan, for example), such drifting may be one way to explain how such a day, that was not a traditional Quarter Day in the Gaelic calendar, came to have such peculiarly Gaelic customs associated with it.

As a result of these races, Campbell says that the day was often referred to as latha na marchachd, ‘the riding day’. On Barra, the women would bring the horses to the men, and get on behind them. “In the scamper that ensues,” it was supposed to be lucky if the female rider fell off,5 and Martin notes that the horses were then taken round a church at Kilbar (presumably sunwise).6 McNeill records that the last races to be held on the island were in 1829.7

Describing the races on Harris, Martin Martin gives an account of how they were in his day:

“The natives are much addicted to riding, the plainness of the country disposing both men and horses to it. They observe an anniversary cavalcade on Michaelmas Day, and then all ranks of both sexes appear on horseback. The place for this rendezvous is a large piece of firm sandy ground on the sea-shore, and there they have horse-racing for small prizes, for which they contend eagerly. There is an ancient custom, by which it is lawful for any of the inhabitants to steal his neighbour’s horse the night before the race, and ride him all next day, provided he deliver him safe and sound to the owner after the race. The manner of running is by a few young men, who use neither saddles nor bridles, except two small ropes made of bent instead of a bridle, nor any sort of spurs, but their bare heels: and when they begin the race, they throw these ropes on their horses’ necks, and drive them on vigorously with a piece of long seaware in each hand instead of a whip; and this is dried in the sun several months before for that purpose. This is a happy opportunity for the vulgar, who have few occasions for meeting, except on Sundays: the men have their sweethearts behind them on horseback, and give and receive mutual presents; the men present the women with knives and purses, the women present the men with a pair of fine garters of divers colours, they give them likewise a quantity of wild carrots.”8

Martin also refers to the cavalcades on Skye and south Uist. On the latter, the riders would head for the beach and pick cockles, which were in abundance at that time of year.9

Pennant, for his turn, observed the cavalcades on Canna: “Every man on the island mounts his horse unfurnished with saddle, and takes behind him either some young girl, or his neighbour’s wife, and then rides backwards and forwards from the village to a certain cross, without being able to give any reason for the origin of this custom.”10 Writing in the nineteenth century, Cumming adds a little more detail saying that the races followed the processions to the cross, which was ridden round three times sunwise before everyone returned to the village inn (where the struans were had – see below). The festival here was called “the Oda,” as it was on St Kilda,11 the Uists, and Harris and Lewis.12

It was perhaps at the start of the procession that the Micheal nam Buadh (‘Michael the Victorious’) was sung, as recorded by Carmichael in Volume I of the Carmina Gadelica, which clearly describes the purpose of them:

“I make my circuit
In the fellowship of my saint,
On the machair, on the meadow,
On the cold heathery hill;
Though I should travel ocean
And the hard globe of the world
No harm can e’er befall me
’Neath the shelter of thy shield;
O Michael the victorious,
Jewel of my heart,
O Michael the victorious,
God’s shepherd thou art.”13

After the cavalcades, came the exchanging of the struans. These were traditionally baked by the women who took part in the cavalcades for the men they rode with,14 but were also made in the home for the family and ceremonially eaten before the processions and races took place. Of all the traditions associated with Là Fhèill Mìcheil, the baking of the struan was the most solemn and evocative, an integral part of the celebrations in Scotland. Even when the harvest was late, and the crops might not be ready for grinding into meal, a little of each grain was taken from the field and dried in the fire to make it ready,15 and it was a matter of pride and good luck for the next harvest for whoever managed to make the first struan in the village.16 There were a lot of struans that had to be made – the large one for the household, individual struans for each member of the household, as well as any servants and herds that might be in employment, plus struans to give away as gifts to friends, and to give to the less fortunate in the village. As such, the grinding and then the baking could go on through the night, from St Michael’s Eve to the morning of Là Fhèill Mìcheil itself.

Strùthan

Strùthan

The Blessing of the Struan (An Beannachadh Strùain) that Carmichael gives in Volume I appears to have been said before it was eaten, perhaps as it was being made, or shortly before they were eaten. The timing is not explicitly stated in the description of the celebrations that Carmichael gives in the several pages before the song is listed, but nevertheless, it is the fullest and most detailed description of how the struan was made – including the ritual that accompanied it – and as such a rarity in this respect, it deserves our full attention:

“A cake called Struan Micheil is made of all the cereals grown on the farm during the year. It represents the fruits of the field, as the lamb represents the fruits of the flocks. Oats, bere and rye are the only cereals grown in the Isles. These are fanned on the floor, ground in the quern, and their meal in equal parts used in the struan. The struan should contain a peck of meal and should be baked on a lamb-skin. The meal is moistened with sheep’s milk, the sheep being deemed the most sacred animal. For this purpose the ewes are retained in milk till St Michael’s Eve, after which they are allowed to remain on the hill and to run dry. The struan is baked by the eldest daughter of the family, guided by her mother, and assisted by her eager sisters. As she moistens the meal with the milk the girl softly says:

Progeny and prosperity of family,
Mystery of Michael, protection of Trinity.

A leac struain (struan flag), brought by the young men of the family from the moorland during the day, is securely set on the edge before the fire, and the struan is set on the edge against it. The fire should be of crionach caon (sacred faggots) of the oak, the rowan, the bramble and others. The blackthorn, wild fig, trembling aspen, and other ‘crossed’ woods are avoided. As the struan gains consistency, three successive layers of a batter of cream, eggs and butter are laid on each side alternately. The batter ought to be put on with three tail feathers of a cockerel of the year, but in Uist this is generally done with a small bunch of bent-grass. This cake is called struan treo, family struan; struan mor, large struan and struan comachaidh, communal struan. Small struans are made for individual members of the family by mothers, daughters, sisters and trusted servants. These are known asstruan beag, little struans, struan cloinne, children’s struan, and by the names of those for whom they are made. If a member of the family is absent or dead, a struan is made in his or her name. This struan is shared among the family and special friends of the absent one in his or her name, or given to the poor who have no corn of their own. In mixing the meal of the individual struan, the woman kneading it mentions the name of the person for whom it is being made:

Progeny and prosperity to Donald,
Mystery of Michael, shielding of the Lord.

The individual struans of a family are uniform in size but irregular in form, some being three-cornered, symbolic of the Trinity; some five, symbolic of the Trinity, with Mary and Joesph added; some seven, symbolic of the seven mysteries; some nine, symbolic of the nine archangels; and some round, symbolic of eternity.

Various ingredients are introduced into the small struans, as cranberries, bilberries, brambleberries, caraway seed, and wild honey. Those who make them and those for whom they are made vie with their friends who shall have the best and most varied ingredients. Many cautions are given to her who is making the struan to take exceptional care of it. Should it break before being fixed, it betokens ill to the household. Were the struan flag to fall and the struan with it, the omen is full of evil augury to the family. A broken struan is not used.

The dry meal remaining on the baking-board after a struan is made, is put into a mogan, a footless stocking, and dusted over the flocks on the following day – being the Day of Michael – to bring them progeny and plenty and prosperity, and to ward from evil-eye, mischance and murrain. Occasionally the meal is preserved for a year and a day before being used.”17

In a private setting, both Grant and McNeill record that they were still being made well into the twentieth century, although as McNeill laments, these modern forms are generally without the old ceremony attached.18 Indeed, they may still be made on occasion today, but by and large, the custom seems to have fallen victim to depopulation and the loosening of the community ties that are so important in preserving them.19

Sheila MacDonald describes a similar sort of practice from the Hebrides in 1903 – less ritualised than Carmichael described (though she doesn’t say that she actually witnessed the baking of the struan) – but nonethless, it seems that there were clearly some rites associated with the making of the struan even if the original tradition had become debased somewhat:

“The first sheaves of the harvest were taken, dried, and ground into meal with the quern. Then the housewife took some eggs, butter, and treacle, mixed them up, and into the mixture put the new meal, making a dough.

On the stone slab forming her hearthstone she put some red hot peats, and when sufficiently heated swept it clean. On this the dough was placed to cook with an inverted pot over it. During the process of cooking it was often basted with beaten eggs, forming a custard-like covering. Finally, after the cake was cooked a small piece was broken off and cast into the fire. Why? you will ask.

Well, as an offering to the Donas, or old Hornie, or whatever may be the correct designation of that presiding genius whom we are led to believe inhabits the fiery regions. The housewife did this in order to safeguard herself and her household against the Evil One. After reserving some of the Struan for the use of the household, she went round the neighbours in triumph and gave them a bit each, there being usually a great rivalry as to who should be the first to grind the new meal and get the Struan ready. The first to do so was generally understood to have the best crops through the coming year.”20

McNeill also records the offering of a portion of the struan to “the rascal” (devil) on Uist. Here, the woman who baked the bannock would gather the leftovers from the board and burn it in the embers. It was then flung over the shoulder with the words, “Here to thee, rascal (devil); stay behind me, stay from my kine.”21 As noted elsewhere, it seems likely that this ritual was originally performed at Samhainn, mirroring a similar sort of offering that was made on Bealltainn.

While the struans were baked on the eve, they weren’t eaten until the morning of Là Fhèill Mìcheil, after an early Mass. This was called the ‘biadh maidne Micheil’, the morning Michael food, and the struans were accompanied by some lamb, specially killed and prepared for the occasion:

“The father of the family places the struan ‘air bord co gile ri cailc na fuinn no ri sneachda nam beann’–on a board as white as the chalk of the rock or the snow of the hill. He then takes

‘Sgian gheur, ghlan.
Gun smal, gun scour,
Gun sal, gun sur,
Gun mhur, gun mheirg,’

 

A knife keen, true,
Without stain, without dust,
Without smear, without flaw,
Without grime, without rust.

and having made the sign of the cross of Christ on the tablet of his face, the man cuts the struan into small sections, retaining in the parts the form of the whole. And he cuts up the Iamb into small pieces. He places the board with the bread and the flesh on the centre of the table. Then the family, standing round, and holding a bit of struan in the left hand and a piece of Iamb in the right, raise the ‘Iolach Michell,’ triumphal song of Michael, in praise of Michael, who guards and guides them, and in praise of God, who gives them food and clothing, health, and blessing withal. The man and his wife put struan into one ‘coisan,’ beehive basket, and lamb into another, and go out to distribute them among the poor of the neighbourhood who have no fruits nor flocks themselves.”22

As tastes changed and meal and flour became more commonplace – especially flour, allowing for finer types of baking – the recipe for the struan evolved and changed over time. Goodrich-Freer describes a struan made of meal and water, the size of a quern (roughly twice the size of an average dinner plate), which was baked in a thin coating of four eggs beaten with a little buttermilk. Pennant gives a similar description, specifying milk rather than buttermilk,23 and Campbell records that they consisted of oatmeal, held together with treacle, butter ‘etc’.24 Margaret Shaw, on the other hand, records both an old and modern version of the recipe (with the old version being of meal, and the modern version being much sweeter and made using only flour).25

Carmichael mentions several different shapes for the struan, and Shaw describes a traditional round form as being shaped by hand with a depression in the middle.26 Goodrich-Freer describes a triangle shape with the corners cut off as being an earlier form that is traditionally associated with “the female sex,”27 and although she gives no reason why this may be so, McNeill notes the similarities in the shape with the triangular cut made with the spade during the ritual of lifting the carrots (as we shall see later), commenting that “the phallic symbolism is obvious.”28 It should be noted, however, that the symbolism could equally be seen in a purely Christian context, representing both the Holy Trinity and the three-sided shield of St Michael.29 Given the protective focus of the ritual, the shield shape would be a natural choice in emphasising the purpose and symbolism of the struan, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the origin is pre-Christian, although it is impossible to say conclusively one way or another.

Harvested wild carrots, by Sally Hallsworth

Harvested wild carrots, by Sally Hallsworth

The harvesting of wild carrots was another important custom associated with the festival, although it didn’t necessarily fall on the day itself. The harvesting seems to have been exclusively the preserve of women and girls, and they would go hunting for the wild carrots and collect as many as they could find. Like the baking of the struan, the carrot harvest was accompanied by solemn ritual:

“Some days before the festival of St Michael the women and girls go to the fields and plains of the townland to procure carrots. The afternoon of the Sunday immediately preceding St Michael’s Day is specially devoted to this purpose, and on this account is known as ‘Domhnach Curran’–Carrot Sunday. When the soil is soft and friable, the carrots can be pulled out of the ground without digging. When, however, the soil is hard, a space is dug to give the hand access to the root. This space is made in the form of an equal-sided triangle, technically called ‘torcan,’ diminutive of ‘tore,’ a cleft. The instrument used is a small mattock of three prongs, called ‘tri-meurach,’ three-fingered, ‘sliopag.’ ‘sliobhag.’ The three-sided ‘torcan’ is meant to typify the three-sided shield, and the three-fingered ‘sliopag,’ the trident of St Michael, and possibly each to symbolise the Trinity. The many brightly-clad figures moving to and fro, in and out, like the figures in a kaleidoscope, are singularly pretty and picturesque. Each woman intones a rune to her own tune and time irrespective of those around her. The following fragment was intoned to me in a soft, subdued voice by a woman who had gathered carrots eighty years previously:–

‘Torcan torrach, torrach, torrach,
Sonas Curran corr orm,
Michael mil a bhi dha, m’ chonuil,
Bride gheal dha m’ chonradh.

Piseach linn gash piseach,
Piseach dha mo bhroinn,
Piseach linn nach piseach,
Piseach dha mu chloinn.’

 

Cleft fruitful, fruitful, fruitful,
Joy of carrots surpassing upon me,
Michael the brave endowing me,
Bride the fair be aiding me.

Progeny pre-eminent over every progeny,
Progeny on my womb,
Progeny pre-eminent over every progeny,
Progeny on my progeny.

 Should a woman find a forked carrot, she breaks out into a more exultant strain that brings her neighbours round to see and to admire her luck,

‘Fhorca shona, shona, shona,
Fhorca churran mor orm,
Conuil curran corr orm
Sonas curran mor dhomh.’

 

Fork joyful, joyful, joyful,
Fork of great carrot to me,
Endowment of carrot surpassing upon me,
Joy of great carrot to me.

 There is much rivalry among the women who shall have most and best carrots. They carry the carrots in a bag slung from the waist, called ‘crioslachan,’ little girdle, from ‘crios,’ a girdle. When the ‘earrasaid’ was worn, the carrots were carried in its ample folds. The women wash the carrots and tie them up in small bunches, each of which contains a ‘glac,’ handful, The bunches are tied with three-ply thread, generally scarlet, and put in pits near the houses and covered with sand till required.”30

An old woman interviewed by Goodrich-Freer described how the young men would attempt to steal the carrots before the women had a chance to cook them or gift them, while in other parts the carrots were given to the woman’s riding companion after the horse races and procession.31 These were given, and received, with blessings; the woman giving the carrots would say, “Ruth agus rath air do iaighe ‘s eirigh/Progeny and prosperity on thy lying a rising,” to which the man receiving the gift would respond with something like:

‘Piseach agus pais air an lamh a thug.
Por agus pais dha mo ghradh a thug.
Piseach agus pailteas gun an airc na d’chomhnuidh.
Banas agus brioghas dha mo nighinn duinn.
Baireas agus buaidh dha mo luaidh a thug.’
Progeny and peace on the hand that gave.
Issue and peace on my love who gave.
Progeny and plenty without scarcity in thy dwelling.
Wifehood and motherhood on my brown maid,
Endowment and prosperity to my love who gave.”32

In the evening of Là Fhèill Mìcheil, after the day of struans, processions, and races, there was time for dancing and fun. Gifts were often exchanged between lovers, and indeed it seems the carrots, as tokens of good will, were given to lovers or would-be lovers. The women would put carrots in a bag called the crioslachain marked for a particular recipient (such as her riding companion), and once it was empty they would go to their secret stash that they had hidden up on the machair (a plain) during the harvesting, and fill the bag up again. Upon returning to the dance, she would announce:

‘’S ann agam fein a bhiodh na currain,
Ga be co bhuinneadh bhuam iad.’
‘’S ann agam fein a bhiodh an ulaidh.
Ge be ’n curaidh bheireadh bhuam e.’

It is I myself that have the carrots,
Whoever he be that would win them from me.
It is I myself that have the treasure,
Whoso the hero could take them from me.”33

Of the dances described by Carmichael, one of them is particularly interesting, since it involves the acting out of the death and then revival of the Cailleach:

“The song and the dance, the mirth and the merriment, are continued all night, many curious scenes being acted, and many curious dances performed, some of them in character. These scenes and dances are indicative of far-away times, perhaps of far-away climes.  They are evidently symbolic. One dance is called ‘Cailleach an Dudain,’ carlin of the mill-dust. This is a curious character-dance. The writer got it performed for him several times.

“It is danced by a man and a woman. The man has a rod in his right hand, variously called ‘slachdan druidheachd,’ druidic wand, ‘slachdan geasachd,’ magic wand. The man and the woman gesticulate and attitudinise before one another, dancing round and round, in and out, crossing and recrossing, changing and exchanging places. The man flourishes the wand over his own head and over the head of the woman, whom he touches with the wand, and who falls down, as if dead, at his feet. He bemoans his dead ‘carlin,’ dancing and gesticulating round her body. He then lifts up her left hand, and looking into the palm, breathes upon it, and touches it with the wand. Immediately the limp hand becomes alive and moves from side to side and up and down. The man rejoices, and dances round the figure on the floor. And having done the same to the right hand, and to the left and right foot in succession, they also become alive and move. But although the limbs are living, the body is still inert. The man kneels over the woman and breathes into her mouth and touches her heart with the wand. The woman comes to life and springs up, confronting the man. Then the two dance vigorously and joyously as in the first part. The tune varies with the varying phases of the dance. It is played by a piper or a fiddler, or sung as a ‘port-a-bial,’ mouth tune, by a looker-on, or by the performers themselves. The air is quaint and irregular, and the words are curious and archaic.”

The actions clearly relate the Cailleach as the spirit of the harvest, and is perhaps in a similar vein with the Irish tale of death of Tailtiu after her exertions clearing the plains for her foster-son Lugh, where she is commemorated at Lùnastal. Here, though, the Cailleach has a decidedly happier ending, and her revival is meant to relate to the cycle of the year, of growth, harvest, rest, and then renewal at spring. The dance between the man and woman has both overtones of a struggle, with weapons, and a mating ritual34 (perhaps analogous to the struggle of winning the harvest).

The use of the wand is particularly interesting, given that the Cailleach, is associated with a wand at the beginning of Spring, where she tries to stop the plants from springing to life in order to prolong the Winter.

The evidence in Ireland

Tramore, Co. Waterford, by Andrea @ Hotelsireland

Tramore, Co. Waterford, by Andrea @ Hotelsireland

Customs in Ireland, as far as Là Fhèill Mìcheil is concerned, appear to be far more localised, with only a superficial similarity to those found in Scotland. There was the connection with the sea, and horses, but as Evans noted in Irish Folk Ways, there was not nearly as much of the pageantry and ceremony attached to it as in places like Uist.35 Instead, the day marked several things, depending on the area – the end of the summer and the tourist season in County Waterford;36 the end of the fishing season in the south and south-west; the start of the apple season in parts of Munster and Leinster;37 the hunting season,38 and the goose harvest, or Fomhar na nGéan.39

Whereas in Scotland lamb was usually on the menu, Ireland favoured goose or a cock,40 as it was in England, although a lamb wasn’t unheard of.41 After slaughter, in some parts, the blood was then rubbed into the doors.42 It was at this time of year when the farmer would start thinking about the number of livestock that could survive the winter, and the herds would be culled accordingly.43 Likewise, the geese who had hatched in the spring would be ready to go to market and inevitably, one ended up on the table, and one was perhaps sent as a gift to a neighbour or friend, or portions were given to the poor in the area.44

On the south and south-west coast, Là Fhèill Mìcheil saw the end of the fishing season and all of the boats and gear were put away until the next year.45 Elsewhere in Ireland, the fisherman marked the occasion by not going out to sea on the eve, but otherwise, resumed fishing the day after.46

In County Waterford, one of the most striking customs has recently been revived in the area,47 that of the making of the seaweed dollies to mark the end of the tourist season:

“At Tramore, County Waterford, the sumer holiday season was closed with a curious ceremony. The custom of ‘going to the sea’ is old in this area; merchants from the towns as well as farming families have been coming to Tramore for more than two hundred years, with the result that many local people derived much of their livelihood from this custom…On the feast of St Michael, these people marched in a body to the edge of the sea and threw in an effigy named ‘Micil’, as a jocose hint to the great Archangel that his festival meant financial loss to them.”48

The custom itself may not be of much antiquity, but clearly there are parallels with other kinds of offering to the sea at other times of the year, either in thanks or anticipation.

Conclusion

Although there are several striking rites and customs associated with the day – in Scotland, particularly – there is very little evidence overall to suggest that the day itself had any significance beyond being a date in the ecclesiastical and (later) British legal calendar that came to establish itself in one way or another in Ireland and Scotland. The festivities are largely light-hearted – such as horse racing, or young women picking wild carrots while the young men tried to steal them. Or else they are thoroughly practical – such as the plucking of the geese for down feathers, and the killing of the less productive, or sturdy, livestock to see that the rest of the herd or flock had enough food to see them through the coming winter.

What little there is that does seem to have an underlying pre-Christian, or at least decidedly Gaelic, theme to the proceedings could easily be seen as a shifting from other festivals. Horse racing was common at Lùnastal; as McNeill argues, the struan – especially the throwing of some of it to the ‘rascal’ – would make better sense if we see it as a custom that has shifted from Samhainn, as a direct reflection of the same ‘sacrifices’ made at Bealltainn.49

Unlike at Samhainn or Bealltainn, Lùnastal or Là Fhèill Brìghde, there was no emphasis on an underlying sense of supernatural danger afoot; there is no mention of rowan or other protective woods being brought in to the house or byre (that I have seen), and where there is mention of saining, it is with blood or salt, rather than the more usual emphasis on water or urine. While the ritual of the struan and the processions themselves have a clear protective purpose, without this overt, imminent, Otherworldly, threat that is so commonly found on the Quarter Days. It seems possible that the shifting of the traditions is the cause of this apparent disconnect. And perhaps, although moved to a different context, these customs being shifted, and adopted in the context of a popular saint, may have helped preserve them in a way they weren’t at the Quarter Days, since there was no overtly religious (acceptably Christian) framework in which to preserve them.


References

1 Hutton, Stations of the Sun, 1996, p348.
2 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p187.
3 See Goodrich-Freer, ‘More Folklore from the Hebrides,’ Folklore Vol 13, 1902, p44-45, who comments that the name was only applied to the cakes made at this time.
4 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p102.
5 Black, The Gaelic Otherworld, 2005, p558.
6 Martin, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland (circa 1695).
7 The celebrations actually took place on September 25th on Barra, which was dedicated to the local saint, St Barr. McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p104.
8 Martin, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland (circa 1695).
9 Martin, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland (circa 1695).
10 Pennant, A Tour in Scotland, 1998, p272.
11 For a description of the festivities on St Kilda, see Macaulay, The history of St Kilda, 1764, pp81-83.
12 Cumming, In the Hebrides, 1883.
13 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica Vol I, 1900.
14 Pennant, A Tour in Scotland, 1998, p272.
15 Goodrich-Freer, ‘More Folklore from the Hebrides,’ Folklore Vol 13, 1902, p44-45.
16 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p115.
17 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica, 1992, p590-591.
18 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p115; Grant, Highland Folk Ways, 1961, p358.
19 Hutton, The Stations of the Sun, 1996, p348.
20 MacDonald, ‘Old-World Survivals in Ross-shire,’ Folklore Vol XIV, 1903, p382.
21 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p115.
22 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica Vol 1, 1900, p200.
23 Pennant, A Tour in Scotland, 1998, p272.
24 Black, The Gaelic Otherworld, 2005, p558.
25 Shaw, Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist, 1977, p58.
26 Shaw, Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist, 1977, p58.
27 Goodrich-Freer, ‘More Folklore from the Hebrides,’ Folklore Vol 13, 1902, p44-45.
28 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p114.
29 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p114.
30 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica Vol 1, 1900, p200.
31 Cumming, In the Hebrides, 1883.
32 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica Vol 1, 1900, p200.
33 Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica Vol 1, 1900, p209.
34 Koch, Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2006, p560.
35 Evans, Irish Folk Ways, 1957, p276.
36 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p189.
37 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p189.
38 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p189.
39 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p188.
40 Evans, Irish Folk Ways, 1957, p276.
41 Hutton, The Stations of the Sun, 1996, p348-349; Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Folk Custom and Belief, 1967, p74.
42 Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Folk Custom and Belief, 1967, p74.
43 Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Folk Custom and Belief, 1967, p74.
44 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p188.
45 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p189.
46 Ó Súilleabháin, Irish Folk Custom and Belief, 1967, p74.
47 See the article in The Irish Examiner.
48 Danaher, The Year in Ireland, 1972, p189.
49 McNeill, The Silver Bough Volume II, 1959, p102.