of Dunkeld and Tayside Region
do we throw a coin in the River Tay or the River Forth for
luck ? The origin and significance of many of our customs,
superstitions and sayings are now unknown to us. Even such things
as guising, dookin for apples, washing our faces in May
dew, bonfires and turniplanternsthese are not merely
games or frolics; they are relics of ancient rites.
truth is, we are still very much encompassed by the customs of
the ancient past. These are many and strangethey begin with
our birth and end only with death and burial. The curious customs
associated with weddingsespecially the weddings of fisher
and country folkwould need a web site to themselves!
which, we still have our lucky charms, our silver coins, our white
heather. We no longer venerate the oak, like the Druids, as the
symbol of the Supreme Power, whose spirit emanated in the mistletoe
fruit. But mistletoe berries still play a prominent part in the
festive fun of Hogmanay.
no longer believe that Sir Johns Wort (St. Columbas
axillary flower, and often used in Midsummer Eve celebrations)
will ward off the fairies, but now believe it will ward off depression.
The rowan-tree (a protection against witches) still grows alongside
many a cottage door, as well as alongside many ancient sites of
pagan worship. You see, the past is inextricably bound up with
survive in our most modern communities. Think of the number thirteen,
fear of going under ladders, looking at the new moon through glass,
black cats, bringing hawthorn or wild cherry blossom into the
house, spilling salt.
we have ourselves witnessed in modern politics and war, the magical
powers of a leader can still be impressed on the mass of
the people by ritual performance and symbols. So it looks as if
the magical attitude in human affairs is far from dying out.
may no longer worship the sun, but sun-worship is not entirely
forgotten. We may not venerate our river gods, but when we open
the salmon-fishing season by breaking a bottle of whisky over
the bow of a boat, are we not endeavouring (with this great sacrifice!)
to solicit the favour of Tatha, the ancient goddess of our greatest
to Dunkeld History