Hello my friends,
Halloween is here – a day filled with mystery, magic and superstition, but also one filled with lots of fun. I hope you are going to a party, dressing up in weird and wonderful costumes and hanging out with your friends. Are you going trick or treating later or popping in to a party or are you and your lover meeting up for an evening of magic? Whatever your plans I really hope you have a happy time…
But how did it all begin and what is Halloween really?
It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-en) during which people felt especially close to their deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and on the roadside as well as lighting candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. Over the years the popular traditions of Halloween have been enjoyed every 31st of October and in the day leading up to the weekend we think about what costumes to wear, how to cut the pumpkin to make a lantern, dust off the old broomstick, decorate our homes and make sure we have enough sweets for the inevitable doorbell and the shout “trick or treat”.
But where do these traditions originate and what are their true meanings?
Trick or Treat
The tradition of “trick-or-treating” started when during Samhain poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.
The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. It was widely believed that to avoid being recognized by unfriendly ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.
Jack O Lantern (Pumpkin)
The tradition began when people started carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away “Stingy Jack” and other wandering evil spirits.
Broomsticks and Witches
Brooms were common household objects in Medieval England and many peasants used them when out walking to help then across streams and obstacles on their journeys. Certain plants available at the time had hallucinogenic properties; one such plant was Belladonna that when combined with Wolfsbane during initiation ceremonies, these properties convinced people that they could fly. The Halloween witch is depicted as a green, ugly, old lady who owns a black cat and rides a broomstick.
Apple Bobbing/Snap Apple/Naming Nuts
Originally these games were played to foresee your future wife or husband. Apples are thrown into a tub of water or hung form a string and you endeavour to catch one in your mouth as they bob or swing round. When you have caught one, you peel it carefully, and pass the long strip of peel round your head; after which you throw it over your shoulder, and it falls to the ground in the shape of the initial letter of your true love’s name. Another game of naming nutshells after prospective love interests and placing them near a fire to see which would burn steadily — indicating true love — and which would crack or pop and fly off the hearth — revealing a passing fancy.
Will you reveal your true love tonight?
All my love