Well that festive holiday, Halloween, is upon us once again.¬† Soon herds of ‚Äútrick or treaters‚ÄĚ will be descending on our homes trying to satisfy their insatiable desire for sweets dressed in their scariest Halloween finery.¬† Don‚Äôt ya love it?
But over the years Halloween has grown from a holiday only celebrated by kids to one enjoyed by young and old alike.¬† Adults have costume parties at work, at bars, at restaurants, at people‚Äôs homes.¬† Malls have costume parades for both young and old with free candy for the festive trick or treaters.¬† ¬†Halloween has gone from what was 2000 years ago essentially a Celtic holiday celebrating the harvest and honoring their dead to a multi billion dollar event.¬† And you thought ¬†the dentists of the world created it.
Actually Halloween is one of the oldest holidays still celebrated.¬† As I said its origins can be traced back to the Celtics almost 2000 years ago.¬† The Druids regarded November 1 as New Year‚Äôs Day. It was known as Samhain, (pronounced sow‚Äô-en), which literally meant the end of summer.¬†¬† It was a time for celebrating the year‚Äôs harvest and for honoring the dead. The Celts believed that all laws of time and space were suspended during this time, allowing spirits to roam the earth and intermingle with the living, so they built raging fires and made offerings to appease these restless spirits.
The Roman church soon enacted a holiday to divert the people‚Äôs worship of spirits and proclaimed All Saints Day to be celebrated on November 1st.¬† The night before became known as All Hallows Eve and over the years was simply shortened to Halloween.
Trick or Treating also has early roots buried deep in English history and tradition.¬† It came from All Souls Day parades in England.¬† The poor citizens of England would line the streets as the more affluent members of the community paraded by and tossed them pastries called ‚Äúsoul cakes‚ÄĚ.¬† The starving citizens would accept these as payment for prayers they would make to the dead family members of the upper class.
The origin of dressing up in costumes is also steeped in the ‚ÄúAll Souls Day‚ÄĚ tradition.¬† Knowing that their dead relatives were coming back to haunt them the citizens would dress in costumes and masks in hopes these unwanted borders would be unable to find them.
For me, being from the East Coast originally, New York to be exact, Halloween ignites regional memories of this special holiday.¬† In the North East Halloween signifies the finality of summer as the shadows begin to grow longer and longer and the days begin to grow shorter and shorter.¬† There is briskness, a distinct ‚Äúnip‚ÄĚ in the air that lets us know it is time to put the fall jackets away and bring out our heavy winter coats.¬† People are more introspective, slowing down a step or two as the weather turns chilly and the night sky more crisp and clear.¬† ¬†It‚Äôs as if the whole world pauses for a brief, fleeting moment as Mother Nature prepares to shift its seasonal gears.¬† Even the scent in the air changes from that of fragrantly growing summer flowers to the wonderful smell of freshly fallen leaves.¬† And who can forget those pungent piles of multi colored leaves, stacked head high just begging for someone to jump into them.¬† That someone was usually me.
Halloween brings back memories of drinking fresh, hot apple cider with just a hint of cinnamon; apple picking; ‚ÄúThe Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown‚ÄĚ and long evening walks in the brisk night air. ¬†An air scented with the aroma of freshly carved pumpkins and the sweet smell of burning wood.
So this year be a kid again; put a smile on your face or a pair of glasses with a funny nose and enjoy the throngs of excited children in costumes as they happily make their way from house to house repeating over and over ‚ÄúTrick or Treat‚ÄĚ.¬†¬† It‚Äôs only one night a year and you may actually have a good time‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.besides you never know who may be watching.
Enjoy the links below and Happy Halloween everyone.