It’s the most wonderful time of the year… (imagine me singing, slightly off tune as I usually do)
It’s almost Halloween and I couldn’t be more excited! In my home, you’re never too young to get in on the action. Since my oldest was a toddler, she’s taken an inordinate amount of deranged pleasure in assisting us assemble our front yard cemetery, while decking the halls with severed limbs and spider webs. This year, even the three year old found her inner ghoul. Silly me, I thought she’d want to be Elsa from Frozen like every other girl ages 2-9 in the world this year. I should have known she’d pick up a Michael Myers mask. Last year, my nine year old was a ‘zombie slumber partier’ , this year she’s going as that precocious ginger-haired serial killer child Chucky for Trick or Treating. Little girls – they’re so precious…and kind of scary.
Historically, Halloween hasn’t changed all that much over the last several hundred years. Starting out as All Hallows Eve, its roots are argued to be influenced by Samhain, the Gaelic celebration of the end of harvest season and beginning of winter. During Samhain, it was believed that ghosts could walk amongst the living. Eventually, the Christians would try to convert the pagan ritual to something more ‘suitable’. All Saints (All Hallows) is a feast in honor of Christian Saints and was celebrated on November 1st, leaving the day before – October 31, to be known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween.
Many ancient concepts can still be found in our modern Halloween traditions. During Samhain, food and drink were left out for the wandering ghosts. Today, we hand out Kit-Kats and Tootsie Pops to the costumed children that land upon our doorsteps. Trick or Treat is based on “mumming” – the practice of dressing up as supernatural creatures and acting out to get some treats. Even games like bobbing for apples have ancient roots.
So, as I try (unsuccessfully) to convince my husband to slap on a kilt and call himself Jaime Fraser, I am reminded of the centuries of tradition that are embedded in this holiday. Halloween is steeped in ancient customs and provides a glimpse into the festivities that some of our oldest ancestors would have experienced.
And if that isn’t enough of a reason to fully get in the spirit of things, I don’t know what is.
ROMANTIC PURSUIT QUESTION: What does Samhain celebrate? Answer here!
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago. She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy. Visit her at http://www.jessicajefferson.com for more of her random romance musings.
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