Halloween

On October 31, with the rest of North America we celebrated Halloween.

Wizard Dan

Wizard Dan

The invitation to join the festivities came from an Australian family. Nicholas a boy in Dan’s class hails from Canberra. So Dan, Tim, Jen and I joined Thomas, his dad Greg & assorted children, and went “trick or treating” through the neighbourhood.

Tim & Friend

Tim & Friend

This ofcourse was a novel experience. The origins of Halloween lie in the Celtic lands, and it is they (the Irish and to a lesser extent the Scots) who brought this peculiar festival to America in the 19th century. “Halloween” is from “All Hallows Even” (the eve of All Hallows Day/All Saints Day). Pope Gregory moved the Christian holiday to overlay the pagan festival with a Christian meaning.

Graveyard at 101 7th St

Graveyard at 101 7th St

Halloween, however, has its origin in the Celtic autumn festival “Samhain”, an end of harvest fire festival when it was believed the dead revisited the land of the living. This necessitated communal bonfires to ward off evil spirits (the explanation for the fireworks accompanying Halloween).

Halloween by Day

Halloween by Day

The “Trick or Treating” experience was an interesting one. Its not only the kids who dress up , but houses are decorated with symbols of the season. As with Christmas in Australia, this has become an “art-form” & there are houses in the district which draw crowds each year for their astonishing spectacle.

jack-o-lantern stairwell

jack-o-lantern stairwell

Carved pumpkins lit by a candle inside (Jack-o’-lanterns) are the most prominent Halloween symbol (replacing the European turnip) and light up most homes. Other popular images include ghosts, monsters, skeletons, spiders, scarecrows and witches. Anything infact that fits the “horror” theme!

ghosts

ghosts

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