I don’t have much time to really write much of anything (other than what I have over the past few weeks)
today. I’m sure you are busy getting ready for whatever Halloween festivities you have planned like getting dressed up and getting make-up on for trick or treating or a party, which I am doing as well (at least handing candy out to the kids).
Right now it’s the 27th and I just got my pumpkin over the weekend & I can’ t think of what face I want to carve into it. Also have baking to do.. Blood cakes or ‘blood’ Brownies (red velvet cake)
mmm maybe I’ll see if i can do one of the Blood desserts & the Graveyard dirt (brownies)
Thought of an idea for the Pumpkin face, a mummy. I went to look but am not sure if I can pull it off as the Pumpkin isn’t tall and ‘bloated’ its stout and not much room so I’m here on the 29th and way behind in my last minute preparations (which are turning to be very much literal)
More than two-thousand years ago before Christian times, the eve of November 1st was one of three principal festivities in times of the ancient Celts, who inhabited France and the British Isles. This was Harvest season and the start of their winter, known as Samhain (sow-in), meaning summer’s end and marking the death of summer and the rebirth of the New Year. (If you asked what the other 2 festivals were, May was for Sowing seeds, and the Summer Solstice of June for ripening.)
Great fires were built on hill tops in honor of the sun which the people of the ‘heathen’ religion worshiped. When the said “Heathen’ religion was destroyed by Christianity, the church twisted the celebrations to their own agenda so the heathens would convert and the holidays would have different meaning. So now the harvest festival was now All Hallow’s (meaning Holy) Eve (or eve of All saints’ day).
Most of the old customs of the holidays were renamed all though gradually others were introduced; All hallow’s eve remained the Night of the Year for wild, mysterious and superstitious rites. Fairies and all sorts of supernatural beings were believed to be lurking about at this time and to exercise their powers over earthly beings. Because of this it was thought the best time for the practice of performing magic and divination (fortunetelling) which were the customs observed on this night.
The ancient Celts believed an invisible veil separated the worlds of the living and the dead; (here’s an analogy for you) it’s sort of like when Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts. His aunt & Uncle Muggle is the normal rest of the year, then that track of 9 3/4 would be a literal veil and then he crosses into the world of magic to get to the Hogwarts train. In (I think it was) the Prisoner of Azkaban the actual veil between the living and the dead is portrayed. On the last day of the year at sundown the veil is at its thinnest allowing the living and the dead the chance to connect with each other
Every Samhain the ‘Lord of the Dead’ was said to gather men, women & children ‘s souls who had died during the year. These souls were believed to be confined in the bodies of animals while waiting to enter the underworld. Having made amends for their sins they would be set free to journey into the Celtic otherworld of Tir-na-n’Og, whose gates opened to welcome them. Homesick spirits were free to wander the mortal realm and return to their old homes to seek the warmth and company of their living kin. The families prepared offering of food. The bonfires illuminating the sky with its eerie orange glow was a guiding light for the returning souls. The fires were also of another use as they were kept a flame (burning)through the night to keep away any evil spirits with the intent to harm the living.
The citizens of pre-christian Ireland believed that Samhain was the time what some dark-skinned strange creatures like goblins with mystical powers would come out of hiding. These creatures are resentful of humans for taking over land that was once theirs, they delight in creating as much Mischief and chaos as possible. Some would just play pranks while others could be quite dangerous and evil. Every seven years these creatures would steal human infants or small children and then sacrifice them to their god. (This also sounds like one of the fairy stories how they kidnap children replacing them with a changeling that looks just like the child)
The Fearful Celts started to leave bowls of cream and oatmeal outside before they bedded down for the night for the ‘conquered race’. The Scots did the same only pouring the milk on a certain stone as an offering to the fairy folk. If the ritual was not carried out the creatures may cause harm to, or kill a beloved pet or livestock out of anger. On this night fairy mounds were wide open that someone (like quicksand) could fall in, and would remain doomed.
The Celts had a variety of charms to protect themselves against ‘the little people’ (fairies), like the ringing of bells (especially those of the Church) and hanging iron Horseshoes above doorways were just 2 ways to keep those little buggers at bay, and to keep from being glamoured. Many parts of the world people still believe that iron is a metal that repels and protects against all manner of fairy, t is also used in making of magical talismans and amulets for protection. horseshoe-superstition*Horseshoe-House-Door-Feng-Shui.htm
The Roman armies in the 1st century B.C. invaded Britain and Gaul (now France) and became part of the Roman Empire. The Romans had their own Day of the Dead, called Feralia and originally celebrated it on the 21st of February, which by the Old Roman calendar was the last day of the year. This held the purpose to give Rest and peace to the departed through prayer, offerings and sacrifices. Elements of Samhain and Feralia began to merge at some point.
In the 4th century A.D the Roman Empror Constantine declared the new and lawful religion to be christianity; thus a holy war was declared upon Pagans as well the rites and symbols along with it (which christianity stole and twisted to their own agenda one in which includes the Cross as well as conversion) The Druid religion was banned and Samhain rites outlawed and the Druid priests were systematically murdered. Early Christians (even current) did not understand the old beliefs; They erroneously associating the Celtic underworld with their punishment of damnation their firey pit of hell, and that the Celtic lord of the dead was the devil when neither share anything or relation. Christians assumed (which just makes an ass of you) Samhain being the old Celtic new year devoted to the dead, the pronunciation incorrect of the Semitic name Sammael which means ‘God of the underworld’
Now the Celts’ gods and goddesses and the fertility religion is now ‘newly invented’ by the devil. Pagans were slow to embrace the new religion, not willing to give up their Pagan holidays and practices. The priests may have been gone, but the people kept the sacred hilltop bonfires to guide the spirits of the dead each Samhain.
History proves in many cases the Pagan to christian conversion was accomplished by violent means torture and execution were highly effective practices by the Christian Church (mmm what happend to ‘Thou shalt not kill?” guess I’ll see those F**rs in Hel ) to eradicate Pagans. On a less violent, but no less vile manner they Christianize Pagan practices, now giving new meaning to old rites and symbols. The cross of christian faith prior to the 5th century existed as a pagan religious symbol and magic tool.
The 7th century Pope Boniface (sp?) introduced All Saints’ day which was originally May 13 but in 900 Gregory 3 changed it to November 1st to supplant the Samhain deast of the dead festivities (thank Goddess in that they failed in a way)
All saints’ day was called All Hallow’s day and Hallowmas. Hallow meaning Holy.
Hlloween was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants in the 19th century. It’s roots of Paganism of course get many religious groups panties in a bunch. Thankfully Halloween popularity especially among the young outweigh the chagrin of the opposition and the early (evil) attempts to ban the celebration proved to be futile in the states
To this day Halloween still casts a spell on OCtober 31st on young and old. It remains the most entertaining holiday for children of all backgrounds, and ages. Even if the cobwebs of the past have claimed the original customs it still remains a sacred night to modern witches, druids and (neo) pagans.
Samhain was more than just a night the spirits walked the earth, Samhain was also connected with the fertility of the Earth and it’s animals. The final harvest was celebrated and the farmer brought their livestock in from the pastures and started their winter preparations. Pumpkins, and apples play a part in many of Halloween customs as well as hazelnuts.
Large pots of candy would bubble over a fire to be poured over plates of buts, eaten at intervals through the night and keep spirits high for those with less than favorable fortunes. Tubs of cold water and apples were used for bobbing. Apples are also used to find the letter of the first name of the one you would marry; by peeling the skin completely around (without breaking) and dropping it in to the water and there it’s supposed to form the letter.
Decorations vary in modern times from cute, creepy to out right scary. Ambiance is a key to indoor festivities, low lighting or even better ea fire in the hearth (your fireplace) keeping the shadowy corners mysterious and sinister.
Love this Jack O’lantern
Once popular in Ireland and parts of Great Britain a ‘Dumb Supper’ was a ritual offering of food to the spirits of the dead who on this day would come to visit their family and then possibly pass into the ether. A place was set at the table with food (possibly porridge), tobacco and drink, for anyone in the who had passed. Now some say a dumb supper will help one see (on Halloween night at midnight) who their future spouse will be.
On All Soul’s day in the Middle Ages in Central and Southern England, bakers were filled with ‘Soul Cakes’.
These are little square buns decorated with currants. These were eaten to ‘bring mercy’ on the christians who dies in the past year. This is a custom derived from the old Pagan tradition of breaking bread, from new grain at the Samhain harvest festival.
‘Soulers’, those who walked the streets singing and begging for food would be given soul cakes; in return of saying additional prayers for the deceased of the donors. The passage of the soul through purgatory is made faster by each prayer. (& this evolved into Trick or Treating)
Yorkshire England Saumas (soul mass) loaves were made somewhat like soul cakes but were round loaves the bakers gave away to their favorite customers to bring them luck and as a charm against early death. One or 2 loaves would be kept in the house until the next all saints day (gross where would they keep it?)
For children in Belgium they would erect shrines in front of their homes and sell cakes for the dead. THese were small white cookies or cake, and one would be eaten for each spirit honored. The belief being the more you sonsumed the more blessings from the dead you would receive.
The Music industry even has some good ‘treats’
I’ve read something at one point about a Dish of salt, Alcohol a few raisins and is to be set on fire (I’m guessing the alcohol meaning whiskey, or rum) but I cannot remember what this was supposed to be for; I guess I have to go re-read everything I did for this to find it)
In the news
Also see if you can check out the Ghost Adventures season 10 Halloween Special “Ireland’s Celtic Demons”
(Cablevision I think will have it on the Free on demand option under travel and leisure then Travel Channel.)
As for the other cable and satellite companies find your On demand channel and then look for an option that says free
and then check around there or just look it up online!