Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Archive Anecdotes: All Hallows 1

Snippets from the City's archives.

Nov 1, 2013


Today much is made of Hallow'een, the eve of All Saints Day. In times past, November 1, the feast of All Saints or 'All Hallows' was itself, not only a day of great religious observance, but also triggered a period of more secular festivities. In Edinburgh the very popular All Hallows Fair was held in the Grassmarket and this image held by the National Museum of Scotland evokes the lively nature of the event. The image is from a watercolour painted around 1870 by Mrs. J Stewart Smith.

Apparently the event did not always begin on All Hallows Day in spite of its name. According to the ENCYCLOPAEDIA PERTHENSIS published in 1816 by John Brown of Anchor Close:

'ALL-HALLOW FAIR, an annual fair held in Edinburgh, that begins the 2d Monday of Nov and lasts a week, chiefly for black cattle and horses'

Image courtesy of © National Museum of Scotland.

All Hallows is a significant day in Scottish banking...read more.


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