Sunday, October 31, 2010
As is tradition, my husband and I watch the old horror flicks of Dracula, Mummy, Frankenstein throughout the month. Today we had Dracula with Bela Lugosi, and then the comedy, Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein, which features Bela Lugosi as Dracula, and the comedy skits in it are really good.
Halloween's traditions go way back to at least the Romans and Druids. It was once called Allhallows Eve, the night before All Soul's Day. It was a secular observance of Halloween, derived from the Druids who celebrated the day of Samhan, when the Lord of Death called together the souls of the wicked who had died during the past year. The theme, of course, was the harvest. You must understand in a time when there was no electricity, and the ways of keeping your harvest in tack in order to survive a harsh winter, was very important. Thus a seasonal holiday made sense as the days grew short, and colder.
The fact that this date is considered the eve of the day of the dead, is pretty much where the Jack-o-lantern came from. I'm consulting Wikipedia for some of this, but I do recall that turnips were hollowed out in Europe, and used as lanterns. The faces were created to scare away the departed souls, as this is the time of year when the veil between our world and that of departed souls was thinnest, and it was believed that they could communicate with them, as well as be visited by them. Thus, superstitions abound during this time of year.
It came to my attention that many states, this year, had declared that the little ones go trick-or-treating on Saturday (the day before--which is called Beggars Night), instead of Sunday, fearing, I guess that it was a bad theme to mix with Christianity. Bah Humbug. According to what I've found it is a tradition from back in the Medieval day of "souling" when the poor went door-to-door asking for food or money.
Well, it matters not. This is my holiday. I collect pumpkins of every kind, and love Jack-o-lanterns. And as I sip on hot cider and one of my home-made cookies, I count my blessings.
Happy Halloween, and I hope you allowed your little ones to celebrate the day as they always have, in their costumes, and getting sugar highs!