“Allantide (in Cornish Calan Gwaf or Nos Calan Gwaf) is a festival celebrated on 31st of October. The festival itself seems to have pre-Christian origins similar to most celebrations on this date, however in Cornwall it was popularly linked to St Allen or Arlan a little known Cornish Saint. Because of the this Allantide is also known as Allan day. As in all Celtic cultures this time of year was seen as being a significant one and sometimes considered to be the Celtic New Year (although this is disputed). In the Celtic mind this was the point in the year when the veil between this world and the next was most thin.
Prior to the 20th Century the parish feast of St Just was known as Allantide. Here follows 2 descriptions of Allantide from 19th Century sources:
The shops in Penzance would display Allan apples, which were highly polished large apples. On the day itself, these apples were given as gifts to each member of the family as a token of good luck. Older girls would place these apples under their pillows and hope to dream of the person whom they would one day marry. A local game is also recorded where two pieces of wood were nailed together in the shape of a cross. It was then suspended with 4 candles on each outcrop of the cross shape. Allan apples would then be suspended under the cross. The goal of the game was to catch the apples in your mouth, with hot wax being the penalty for slowness or inaccuracy.”
THE ancient custom of providing children with a large apple on Allhallows-eve is still observed, to a great extent, at St Ives. “Allan-day,” as it is called, is the day of days to hundreds’ of children, who would deem it a great misfortune were they to go to bed on “Allan-night” without the time-honoured Allan apple to hide beneath their pillows. A quantity of large apples are thus disposed of the sale of which is dignified by the term Allan Market. — Cornish Culture
“Samhain (SOW’-en), which literally means the end of the summer, heralded the beginning of the Celtic New Year. It was the time when the boundaries of the sí (the spirit world, also known as sídhe) were thrown open and communion with the spirits was at its most intense.
It was the festival that attracted most interest in Irish literature. Being the beginning of the dark season, it was especially associated with the dead and the otherworld. Many of the supernatural adventures of heroes in the early literature are said to have taken place at this time. The dead ancestors were of great importance in Irish custom and belief, and some of the most significant events in Irish myth and legend took place at Samhain. It was the time, for instance, when the Tuatha Dé Danann defeated their arch rivals, the Fomoir in the great mythological battle of Mag Tuiread. It was the time when the hero Cuchulain was visited by the two beautiful women of the sidhe, Li Ban and Fand. It was also the time that it is believed that the annual great Feast of Tara was held, and when Fionn became leader of the Fianna.
Folklore places great emphasis on Oíche Shamhna (Hallowe’en) as a time when ghosts are abroad and fairies are moving from their summer to their winter quarters. Due to the Church festivals of All Saints and All Souls on the first two days of November, much of the solemnity has gone from the attitude towards Hallowe’en itself. There is, however, a clear remnant of native belief in the tradition.
The lighting of the fires was an essential part of the festival, those on the hill of Tlachtga being among the most significant. It was said of the gathering at Tara, ‘Three days before Samhain at all times, and three days by ancient custom did the hosts of high renown continue to feast for the whole week.’ ” — National Leprechaun Museum
“In Wales 1 November, the first day of winter, was called Calan Gaeaf. The night before – the eve of the day – was referred to as Nos Galan Gaeaf (Nohs GAH-lan GAI-av) or, occasionally Spirit Night. And many traditions gradually grew up around the festival. Almost inevitably, they were connected with all things frightening or disconcerting.
One of these was called Coelcerth. A fire was built, everyone placing stones with their names on in and around the fire. If any stone and name were missing the following morning, that person would die during the coming year. It is easy to imagine the thrill of apprehension and horror as people looked for their stones in the cold light of day!
Being frightened soon became an essential part of Galan Gaeaf. The image of Y Hwch Ddu Gwta, a black sow without a tail, accompanied by a headless woman, that would together roam the countryside, terrified everyone on Galan Gaeaf when the best place to be was inside your house in front of a roaring fire.” — BBC