Halloween or, more correctly, Hallowe'en, celebrated on October 31st, marks the last day of the year on the ancient Celtic calendar, its night being the time when all witches and warlocks walked abroad and engaged in wicked revelry. With the coming of Christianity, the feast was transformed into the Eve of All Hallows, or All Saints. The following poem by Robert Burns is a good indication of how pre-Christian Halloween beliefs and traditions survived well into the Christian era.
by Robert Burns
Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.
Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu' blithe that night.
Go to http://www.djmcadam.com/halloween.htm for the complete poem