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Popular Superstitions of the Highlands
Fasten's Eve

"And oft I hear your dearest name
Whispered in my troubled dream."

THE most substantial entertainment peculiar to this night is the matrimonial brose, which is a dish, we believe, well known throughout the country at large. This. savoury dish is generally made of the bree of a good fat jigget of beef or mutton, which, being sometimes a good while in retentum, renders the addition of salt to the meal unnecessary. Before the bree is put in the bicker or plate, a ring is mixed with the meal, which it will be the aim of every partaker to get. The first bicker being discussed, the ring is put into two other bickers successively; and should any of the candidates for matrimony find the ring more than once, he may rest assured of his marrying before the next anniversary.

The brose, and plenty of other good cheer, being dispatched, the guests betake themselves to another part of the night’s entertainment. Soon as the evening circle convenes, the "Bannich Junit," or" sauty bannocks," are resorted to. The component ingredients of those dainties are eggs and meal, and a sufficient quantity of salt, in order to sustain their ancient and appropriate appellation of "sauty." These ingredients, well mixed together, are baked or toasted on the gridiron, and are regarded by old and young as a most delicious treat; and, as may be expected, they have a charm attached to them, which enables the happy Highlander to discover the object of all his spells—his connubial bed-fellow.

A sufficient number of those designed for the palate being prepared, the great or matrimonial bannock is made, of which all the young people in the house partake. Into the ingredients of it there is some particle intermixed, which, in the distribution, will fall to the lot of some happy person, who may be sure, if not already married, to be so before the next anniversary.

Last of all are made the Bannich Bruader, or dreaming bannocks, to the ingredients composing which is added a little of that substance which chimney-sweeps call soot, and which contains some charm of which we have not yet come to the knowledge. In baking these last bannocks, the baker must be as mute as a stone—one word would destroy the charm of the whole concern. One is given to each individual, who slips off with it quietly to bed; and, reposing his head on his bannock, he will be gratified by a sight of his beloved in the course of his midnight slumbers.

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