HALLOWTIDE was a time for purgative rites. It was the beginning of the dark period when the earth seemed to enter the underworld. This journey in the underworld was a time to cast off the old self to be purged for a new awakening. Among traditional peoples New Year is often characterised by orgiastic and shamanic rites intended to scare away old demons. These took place at the Calends in Gaul, and—
were denounced by councils and preachers. In Ireland the merriment at Samhain is often mentioned in the texts, and similar orgiastic rites lurk behind the Hallowe'en customs in Scotland and in the licence still permitted to youths in the quietest townships of the West Highlands at Samhain eve. Samhain, as has been seen, was also a festival of the dead, whose ghosts were fed at this time.