Trick or ... Samhain?
Halloween. Such a frightening holiday. Where's the romance when one is being asked to produce a trick or prepare for a treat? I thought I'd take a look at this fun, yet gholish time of year.
Is halloween really that ghoulish?
Halloween has its roots in Celtic Ireland. Over 2000 years ago, the Celts were in firm control of the Irish lands. Typically, 1 November was the start of their New Year. The summer was ending, the harvest was over and the cold winter was marching in. The Celts believed on the night before the new year the boundary between the dead and the living worlds were blurred. The dead returned to earch damaging crops and wreaking havoc. The Celts called this night Samhain. (prounouced Sow-in)
They raised bonfires and wore costumes to scare away the dead, burning crops and animals in sacrfice to the Celtic gods.
In 43 AD., Rome had influence in the Celt lands, merging two of their holidays into the festival, "Feralia," and "Ponoma." In Feralia, they celebrated the dead and Ponoma was the goddess of fruit and trees.
In the 800's Christianity began to show it's influence. 1 NOV was All Saint's Day and was called Allhallowmas (from the middle english) and the day before was known as Allhallowmas eve or soon... Halloween.
As early as 1911, Halloween was written about in American papers as we know in in America. I was curious to discover that England did away with Halloween during Henry VIII's reformation. Do any of our British authors or readers care to weigh in? I'd be curious to know if that's the case.
As for Jack 'o Lantern? After playing a couple of tricks on the devil, the devil got mad at him and refused to let Jack into hell, leaving Jack with only a burning coal to light his way on early. Jack put his coal in a turnip and it acted as a lantern. The Irish called him "Jack of the lantern" but he soon became Jack 'o Lantern. The Irish didn't find pumpkins until they immigrated to America.
Have a fun and safe halloween everyone!