Sunday, November 2, 2014

As the Night Takes Over

A bit of history for night of October 31st.

A bit of history...The Spelling...Halloween; Hallow's Eve; Hallowe'en; All Hallows; All Hallows Eve; All Hallows Even; Hallowed Evening...

A bit of history...The Name....All Saints' Day (derived from the Catholic Church); All Soul's Day (again derived from the Catholic Church); Samhain (derived from the Celtic Islands); The Festival of the Dead (derived from the Celtic tribes); The Feast of Samhain (derived from the celebrations of witches); All Hallows (derived from the Catholic to honour all the saints); All Hallows Even (derived from the Irish Catholic peasants)....

A bit of history...The Samhain (pronounced say-wen).... comes from the Irish Gaelic word samhuinn, meaning 'summer's end' and was recognized as the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year.

A bit of history....The Hallowed.....sanctified or holy.

A bit of history...The 'All Hallows' Ireland was a time for fairies to dance.

A bit of history....The Otherworld....was the time of the end of the harvest, the summer's end, the time with the veil to the 'otherworld' is at its thinest allowing fairies, banshees, puka and other spirits to roam freely upon the earth.

A bit of history...The Mumming.....stemmed from the dressing up to represent demons and dreadful creatures as if the souls of the dead. These creatures would then roam around and perform antics in order to offered food and drink.

A bit of history...The Costume.....can be traced back to this mumming ritual which is still celebrated world wide by the Druids. The dress of the demons are now represented through costumes such as witches, ghosts and skeletons.

A bit of history...The Bonfire....was named after the sacrifices of animal and humans and the ashes and bones could be found once the fire died down, hence the reference from the name 'bone fires' or the 'fire of the bones'. This is now where people wear costumes, ugly masks and disguises in order to confuse and ward off evil spirits.

A bit of history....The Hawthorn or Whitethorn bush....were the favourited place to set out offerings in an attempt to appease bad spirits and fairies.

A bit of history...The Mardi the adults version of today's Halloween celebration that is practiced by children. This day involves magnificent masquerade balls.

A bit of history....The Dead...the celebration of the Day of the Dead by the Celts.

A bit of history....The Druid...the wearing of costumes that would keep these people safe from the spirits.

A bit of history...The Jack-o'-Lantern....become a pumpkin in the late 1800's when it was originally a turnip that had been made into lamps. These lamps were placed in windows to help guide the spirits along their journeys. The carving of scary faces on turnips and placing them near the entry of the home was again a way to ward off evil spirits.

A bit of history...The Embers....these were the embers that were carried home from the great bonfire, usually in a carved out turnip that wore a face in order to scare away evil sprites, to which they were to relight the hearth fire for good luck.

A bit of history...The Ashes....from the bonfires were spread across the fields to protect them against the spirits who would cause the next season's crops to fail.

A bit of history...The Offerings....were actually food, drinks or even gifts that were placed out a part of the ritual to remember and honour the dead. Today, these offerings are the candy that is handed out.

A bit of history....The fruit, apples and nuts are set out as a representation of the end of the harvest.

So between the myths, the legends, the practices, the meanings, the spellings, the 'bits of history'.... the celebration from the past through to today....

But in my wee mew mew, Lady Isabella has her own way to celebrate posing with the candles that are left out in the window (and yes, these are the lighted candles and the wax burning ones...but can you see in the candles...that even today...the ghost, the ghouls, the fairies, the souls of the dead still rise to roam free for the evening. May they pass by to ward off the evil spirits.

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