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Folklore: Halloween Nut? Help!

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Ron Olesko 25 Oct 01 - 09:41 AM
Allan C. 25 Oct 01 - 10:02 AM
Noreen 25 Oct 01 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Ron Olesko 25 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM
Ron Olesko 26 Oct 01 - 09:35 AM
Peg 26 Oct 01 - 09:40 AM
Ron Olesko 26 Oct 01 - 09:50 AM
Allan C. 26 Oct 01 - 10:11 AM
catspaw49 26 Oct 01 - 10:25 AM
Allan C. 26 Oct 01 - 11:27 AM
catspaw49 26 Oct 01 - 04:52 PM
Peg 27 Oct 01 - 11:19 AM
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Subject: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 09:41 AM

I am hoping that someone might be able to clarify a phrase for me.

I am putting together a program of Irish and Scottish songs and tunes for Halloween that will air on my radio program "THE SUNDAY SESSION" on WFDU-FM.

There is recording from the late Rev.William Matheson sung in Gaelic as an Iorram song (almost a eulogy). Unfortunately I am writing this at work (don't tell my boss!) and I don't have the lyrics in front of me, but there is a line in title and song that refers to "halloween nut". (This is the first track on the Greentrax release "Gaelic Bards and Minstrels"). The song says something along the lines of "you didn't crack the halloween nut".

Can anyone explain the reference? Is this based on some sort of tradition or folklore? Perhaps just a Scottish expression?

Help!

Thanks!

Ron Olesko WFDU-FM


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Allan C.
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 10:02 AM

There is an ancient tradition which originated in the Hebrides. During the day of Hallow's Eve, the young maidens of the islands go out and around to collect as many nuts as they can find. That evening the nuts are carefully roasted. A maiden would then offer a roasted nut to a gentleman of her choosing. If he were able to crack the nut with his bare hands, then he would win the heart of the maiden.

Okay, the whole thing is a lie. But it sounded fairly plausible, didn't it?! I am sure the actual answer will be at least as interesting.


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Noreen
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 06:34 PM

Don't know if you already know this, or if it's relevant, but there is a tradition of roasting sweet chestnuts on the fire at Hallowe'en (as well as ducking for apples) which are then cracked and dipped in salt before eating.

We roast them under the grill these days, not having an open fire any more.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 07:07 PM

That could be what the song is referring to. Translated from gaelic it says "Your coffin has gone to a wintry dwelling - you did not break the Halloween nut."

Thanks!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:35 AM

By the way... I will be airing this program of music for Halloween this Sunday at 9am Eastern time on WFDU-FM - 89.1 in the NYC area or on the Internet at www.wfdu.fm .

Thanks for this "non-commercial" interuption!

Ron Olesko WFDU-FM


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Peg
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:40 AM

Ron; I would love a tape of your show.

If I were not knee deep in stuff right now (yes, i am surfing Mudcat but only until my coffee cup empties) including throwing a Hallowe'en party tonight, I would grab my copy of The Golden Bough and try to find this...


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:50 AM

Peg,

I will post it here on Mudcat, hopefully early next week.

Have fun with the party!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Allan C.
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 10:11 AM

Peg, I don't recall a reference to this in "The Golden Bough", but perhaps there should have been one.

"Cracking a nut" has also often been used as a metaphor for discovering the solution to a puzzle or problem. I can't see how this can connect to Halloween, but I thought I would mention it in case someone else sees a link.


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 10:25 AM

Geez Noreen.....Do you like roasted chestnuts? I had always had a romantic idea of them.....you know, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" and all that. Oddly, though my family was very big on Christmas and wintery traditions, we never did the chestnut thing that I recall.

So a few years ago, we're at the Columbus Zoo for the Christmas Lights. They put up 1.25 million lights at the zoo here and it's become a tradition for us to go every year with Connie and Wayne and all the kids. The zoo is also very different at night and you get some neat views of the animals. Anyway.............On the way out, over by the open skating rink is a chestnut stand. They're roasting the things and selling them on the spot for a healthy price, but I figure what the hell, again being a romantic....and it was a very cold and beautiful night. Wouldn't this be wonderful?

I pay the gouger his price and walk away with my chestnuts, excited to surprise everyone. We get to the van and I pass out the nuts to one and all. Wayne prepares mine since I'm driving and everyone begins to chew. I pop the thing into my mouth, expecting something like a hot brazil/filbert combo or something like that, and ready to wax poetic about Christmas and traditions and family. Before my taste buds kick into gear, there are already noises coming from the rear of the van and Wayne in the front.....and they don't sound like yummy noises.

The flavor traversed the nerve endings and a series of synapses later registered in my brain. I heard another non-yummy sound and realized that I had joined the chorus. The texture was pretty bad, but the flavor was.......uh.....worse! Now I have never tasted dog shit and I wouldn't taste it even for comparison purposes, but up in that part of my brain where the imagination lives, that chestnut registered as comparable to dog shit. Obviously I was not alone as there seemed to be a clamoring for napkins and a lot of gagging, spitting, sounds going on around me. I had a feeling my upholstery and the cut pile carpeting was taking a beating too. For me, I pulled the van out of the line of exiting traffic and began hacking on the side of the road.

All of this also mandated that we pull in down the road for drinks. I figure the guy with the chestnut stand also owned the conveniently located Shoot & Scoot where we were equally gouged for drinks, some of which also found their way onto the van's seats and floor. I figure by the time it was all over I had spent about five bucks a nut. We did try them again the next year though, figuring that perhaps we'd gotten a bad batch or something but this time only Wayne and I had the guts (read:stupidity) to sample them. I'm sorry to report that my reaction was the same.....chestnut=dogshit.

If these things are part of Halloween too, I think I can understand the absolute need to also bob for apples, although I would want to be the first to the tub. If they are a part of your Christmas, no amount of mistletoe could induce me to kiss anyone who ate one.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Allan C.
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 11:27 AM

Further threadrift: 'Spaw, it sounds to me as though the nuts were not fully roasted. That would explain the horrid flavor and texture. A remark about that is contained in this resource for selection and proper roasting. There is another site containing chestnut lore (including former medicinal uses) that unfortunately does not include any information about the original question, but is interesting, nonetheless.


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 04:52 PM

Allan, I shall look around and try to find some marroni types and follow tha instructions. You realize of course that should these actually taste as advertized, a perfectly good story will be shot all to hell? I dunno' if it's worth it, but I'll take a crack at the real thing this season.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Halloween Nut??????????? Help!
From: Peg
Date: 27 Oct 01 - 11:19 AM

I am also gonna look at Ronal Hutton's Stations of the Sun which has a lot of information on folk traditions in the British isles.


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