This came in via the PML today. I
decided to send it to our list just for fun. It
tells us a little about how Halloween evolved
over time, and then gives us a new and different
idea at the end.
Very best to all,
From: Marlene <nidd(a)sympatico.ca>
Subject: HALLOWEEN TIME
I found this still on my Draft File where I worked on it 3 weeks ago..
Halloween is almost here!
Children everywhere have begun their annual selection of which ghost,
goblin or super hero they will be while ìtrick or treatingî through
their neighborhood this year.
According to the History Channel, the American tradition of "trick-or
-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls'' Day parades in
England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and
families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for
their promise to pray for the family''s dead relatives. The distribution
of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the
ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The
practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually
taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood
and be given ale, food, and money.
The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and
Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening
time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the
dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween,
when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people
thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes.
To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when
they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for
fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people
would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and
prevent them from attempting to enter.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered
holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment.
Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also
revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire
community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also
prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with
small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow.
Did you know that Jack Oí Lanterns began as turnips, rutabagas, gourds,
potatoes and beets? On all Hallow''s eve, the Irish hollowed them out.
They placed a light inside to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack
away (Stingy Jack is the legend behind the Jack Oí Lantern). These were the
original Jack O''Lanterns.
In the 1800''s a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish
immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were
bigger and easier to carve out.
So they begin to used pumpkins for Jack O''Lanterns.
Why not start a new family tradition and each year carve your families Jack Oí
Lantern from a different fruit or vegetable? This yearís Jack Oí Lantern could
be carved from a watermelon!