Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween is approaching...

Did you know? I didn't.

I have never trick-or-treated anyone. Never dressed up as a witch, devil, pumpkin or ghost.

I don't even know that much about Halloween, so I have turned to my trusty friend, Google to enlighten me.

According to my trusty friend, it combines vestiges of traditional harvest festival celebrations with the customs we see today of costume wearing and trick-or-treating. The name Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Eve, meaning the day before All Hallows Day, a Catholic holiday commemorating Christian saints and martyrs observed since the early Middle Ages on November 1.

However, that is not has also been commonplace to trace its roots even further back in time to a pagan festival of ancient Ireland known as Samhain, about which little is actually known (thanks trusty friend). Apparently, the prehistoric observance is said to have marked the end of summer and the onset of winter, and was celebrated with feasting, bonfires, sacrificial offerings, and homage to the dead.

But why now is there is trick-or-treating and costume wearing at Halloween?
My trusty friend tells me there is a link between present Halloween customs and the Medieval practices of mumming and going a-souling on the eves of All Saints Day. Mumming took the form of wearing costumes, chanting, singing, play-acting, and general mischief making, while souling entailed going door to door and offering prayers for the dead in exchange for treats, particularly soul cakes.

Another thing that piques my curiosity about Halloween is "why pumpkins?"
Trusty friend says for Catholic children it was customary to carry jack-o-lanterns door-to-door to represent the souls of the dead while begging for their soul cakes.
I may never look at pumpkins the same way again.

So this is the first year that I will be doing anything remotely Halloween-ish.

At Little Miss 4's daycare they create Halloween craft every year, decorating the centre with bats, webs, spiders and clearly she loves it. I know this because she wanted her fifth birthday party (in June) to be a Halloween theme. She is not alone, one of her little friends is the we Mums have organised a "Halloween picnic" for them so they can dress up and eat things shaped like spiders, pumpkins. ghosts etc.

Little Miss 4 will be dressed as a witch, complete with crooked nose and teeth and we are making Halloween Spider Cupcakes.

What do you do for Halloween?

Image from here and here.

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