‘Gaelcerth of Halloween’ by John Hugh Roberts – ceremony done in 1834 -40 in Wales.

One of the ceremonies that have survived since the time of the Druids is yet kept in Wales on 11th of November every year, or at least they were observed there during the time that I was in the country (from 1834 to 40). I took part in the ceremonies and I am told they are yet (1888) kept up.

For a week before the time, it is a busy time with childrean some old people too, gathering materials for this Bonfire which is lighted at sunset (old Style: 11th, mostly. ). Anciently, every house in the neighborhood put out their fires so they may be relighted from the Gaelcerth but in my time but five of the families did this.

A description of the last I attended there (1840-) will answer for all of them… It was Wednesday 11th of November, 1840. The sunset at 4:30 when I lit the Bonfire. It was my right to do so because I had gathered the greatest amount of materials for it.

The Master of Ceremony that night was a stranger to me, a very old man who sat near the fire until the signs told him the time to sound the trumpet. The sign of the Bear was low in the north, thus the Prime or 1st Star upper) of the Chair of Casiopea on the zenith, Orion, the Pliades in the east and the Trybedh-y Dre, the Tribat, or Triad of Stars of the Druids in the west, with the Milky Way nearly from east to west. Then the old man slowly arose and handed me the trumpet, which I sounded in keeping time with the motions and sounds he made. (I had done this before).

While thus engaged there was a great commotion among the crowd. The Queen of the Fairies was approaching. She was dressed so fantastically that her best friends could not have known her. At her approach a large ring was formed. Into which the queen marched, with a number of her subjects. The Master- of Ceremonies approached the ring and conversed with the queen in some language that none of the crowd understood. among the subjects of the queen, next to her, were her three guardians, one in green, one in blue and one in white. Next to them were three more dressed in black and after them, three more dressed in all the colors of the rainbow. After them followed a deer, a dragon and a dog. These were moving between the outer and inner rings, directed by the last three guards. On a signal from the Master of Ceremonies, I again sounded the assembly. Each of the first guards carried a wand about a yard and a half long.

One was planted in the ground perpendicular,and another fastened (as a cross), horizontally. With the third rod they measured the inner ring. This was done by the one in green, and the measure he told to the one in white, which this one entered in the Book of Stones (thin slates). The one in blue made observations on the lines of the cross and stars and there on they entered in the book. The wands were hollow, acting as telescopes. The date were also entered and the name of all that were privileged to enter the inner ring to be presented to the Queen. This was done by means of a password. This password is so peculiar that it requires to be given in such a way that no writing can alone explain it.

I happened to be presented first to the Queen. After the Master of Ceremonies delivered this remarkable address. It was delivered in Welsh which in English is as follows:

The remaining part of this paper will be in the video of the Galecerth of Halloween.

This is the first part of the writing and the last part is in the book “Galecerth of Halloween” published by Azatlan. See link below.

2 Comments

  1. A Amazing to go back in time to the 1830’s and imagine a Halloween Ceremony like this: with a Queen of the Fairies, attendants, trumpets blowing, dragon, dog and deer and wands waved . Some day I hope it will be acted out by a theatre group. Thanks

    Like

  2. A Amazing to go back in time to the 1830’s and imagine a Halloween Ceremony like this: with a Queen of the Fairies, attendants, trumpets blowing, dragon, dog and deer and wands waved . Some day a play.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s