Five on Fridays (October 16)
With one of my favourite holidays coming up, Halloween, I want to talk about it.
Lets find out how certain things about Halloween came about!
- Dressing Up ~ Dressing up in costumes and going “guising” was prevalent in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween by the late 19th century. Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils.
- Jack O’-Lanterns ~ The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.
- Black Cats ~ The Druids feared cats – believing that by using evil powers, humans could turn themselves into cats. So during Samhain on November 1, many cats were thrown into the fires to get of rid the evil. Cats are stated to be familiars to witches. The reason why the Black Cat is a the focus is it looks dark and spooky and has stayed a Halloween cat. Due to this, many shelters will not adopt out Black Cats at Halloween time just like Bunnies can’t get adopted around Easter.
- Why do we dress up ~ As far back as the 5th century B.C. Celtic tribes in Ireland believed that the spirits of the dead were allowed to come back to earth once a year on October 31st. The Celtic New Year began on November 1st and the belief was that, on the night before the border between the world of the living and that of the dead became blurred. The spirits of the dead would then be able to cross over for this one night into the world of the living. So they dressed up in order to fool the spirits of the undead.
- And now some pictures of my Halloween decorating outside my home. We decorate every year. The coffin we made. The blow ups are things we purchased over the years.
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