It’s strange, This year I have no Halloween spirit. That’s strange because besides Thanksgiving, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. I think it’s because there are no trick-or-treaters and my kids are too old to be excited about it. No pumpkins carved, no costumes to get ready, No sounds of “Trick or treat, smell my feet, Give me something good to eat!” at my door.
It was strange, My Co-worker was questioning why we say “Trick or treat..” After all, he says, Who really goes up to a door on Halloween and says, “Gee I hope they’ll hit me with a water balloon when I ring the doorbell.”
I secretly chuckled and kept the answer to myself. After all, What they’re really saying is “Give me a treat or YOU’LL get a trick.”
But we’ve fallen so far from the origins of the holiday.
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off.
It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces.
Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).
The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips, became adapted into the making of jack-o’-lanterns. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces, and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips.
I Also like the Hispanic tradition of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead! It is not the same holiday, but is celebrated near the same time.
Previously it fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, approximately the beginning of August, and was celebrated for the entire month. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The goddess, known as “Lady of the Dead,” was believed to have died at birth, Andrade said. But now it coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls with the names of the dead written on them, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.
It is a time to honor the dead whom they believe are present on this day.
They have these festivals in Atlanta, Maybe I’ll push Hubby to take us. if not this year, than next year.
Day of the Dead – in Atlanta; October 29 – 31, 2004; at Woodruff Arts Center; Mexican entertainers, authentic Mexican artifacts, delicious Mexican food, art works from Mexico and South America, piñata and other fun workshops for kids to enjoy; view hand-made altars created by local elementary schools, take pictures with volunteers dressed in authentic Day of the Dead and Mexican Folkloric costumes, and have some fun with face painting
Day of the Dead at Atlanta History Center – in Atlanta; October 30, 2005
Day of the Dead at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History – in Atlanta
Guess I’d better start putting up decorations, Halloween is almost here and gone and I’ve not done a thing. (that’s not true, I bought candy but I never get any trick or treaters so we’ll be eating that later.)
Oh I almost forgot,
Gratitudes: Let’s see.. I am grateful that I’ve had the creativity to start writing again. It seems like there’s been long spans of time in between Muse visits. It feels good to be able to write a few pages and then read over it again and Not totally hate it! I am grateful for the little bit of time I have to devote to my Muse and am grateful for her patience with my busy schedule.