Happy Halloween | 13 Facts About Halloween

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paper Bindings | Happy Halloween | 13 Facts About Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

This year I am planning on dressing up in my Renascence Faire costume! I am very excited - and highly geeky - to introduce everyone to Az! *points below*

Paper Bindings | Happy Halloween | 13 Facts About Halloween

13 Halloween Tidbits

Because Halloween is my favorite holiday ever, I am always on the lookout for books about the history of it. So here are a few facts and lore I've learned over the years.
  1.  Halloween has its origins in the pagan holiday of Samhain.(sow-in)  As the last harvest festival, it marked the end of summer and the beginning of the winter half of the year.  It was also the last day of the cetlic year.  The anicent celts believed that the veiw between our world and the underworld was thin.  Spirits of the deceased were free to roam the world of the living again.  Which, ties in nicely to various Samhain rituals for honoring ancestral spirits.  In an attempt to overpower the pagan holiday, one pope moved All Saints Day to November 1st.  The original All Saints Day was May 13th.  November 1st at midnight is the start of Mexico's festival of the dead.  (Anyone remembering celebrating the Day of the Dead on November 2nd in spanish class??)  Halloween was not always the holiday we know it as.  
  2. Halloween/Samhain was seen as a fire festival by the anicient pagans.  (To many modern pagans, it still is.)  Home fires were extinguished and then relit using fire from the central bonfire.  Fire was used to bless and protect the people, their crops, and animals.  As a form of sympathetic magic, fire was used to speed the return of the sun.  (Remember the days were getting shorter and would continue to do so until Yule -the Winter Solstice- in December.  Winter was not just the death of the land around them, but the people faced death as a real possibility do to starvation, disease, and the elements more so than we do today.)
  3. Jack-o-lanterns can trace their origins to Ireland.  Originally turnips were used.  They were used to scare ghosts away from the home.
  4. As mentioned in #1, Samhain was the last harvest festival.  People believed that any crops left in the field after sundown on the 30th, belonged to the faeries.  Anything left was believed to be cursed and dangerous to consume.
  5. According to legend, if you bury an apple in the ground on the 31st, you will attract a unicorn.  If you eat on before going to bed, legend had it that you would be protected from illness for the next year.  (Remember, the Celtic year started on November 1st.)
  6. As the veil between the worlds is thin, may consider this a good time of year to do divination work.  Many modern pagans use this time to connect with their ancestors, guardian spirits, gods/goddess, elements and ask for guidance for the coming year.
  7. Seances seem to be more popular this time of year.  But beware -and avoid ouja boards- since the veil is thin and you may inadvertently allow an evil spirit access to your home.  Laugh at that if you want, but enough people share that belief, that you should use caution and heed that warning.
  8. Interested in an ancient love divination technique?  Break an egg into a glass of water.  In silence, stare at the mixture.  If a vision appears, marriage/children are in the cards for the coming year.  If not, then they are not likely to happen this year.
  9. Some believe that the God -the sun- "dies" on Samhain and journeys to the underworld.  There he will remain until his birth on Yule.  (If you are curious as to why early Christians moved Jesus's birth from September to December, this is a big reason why.  Similar reasons to #1.  If you cannot beat them, merge them.)  The god dies for his people, so that we may continue to survive.
  10. Which means that this time is now ruled by the Crone Aspect of the Goddess.  Ever wonder why many witch decorations appear to be an old hag?  See the connection now?
  11. Early people believed that spirits returned to the world.  Not all of the spirits that returned were good.  Some were malicious and would harm or play tricks.  Many people would dress up as an attempt to convince the spirits that they were one of them to avoid pleasantries.
  12. "Souling" was an early practice in medieval times where people would dress up in disguises.   They would then go door to door offering prayers for the departed members of the household.  In exchange, they would receive soul cakes.  Many historians believe this was the origins to our modern trick or treating.
  13. In the 1800s, spiritualism was common practice.  Many would gather in groups this time of year and have themed parties.  Divination, seances, bobbing for apples, roasting nuts - all those and more were common occurrences at these celebrations.  Even the ancients had parties this time of year.  Keep that in mind at your next gathering!

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