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Samhain

[Memento mori?]

Why Halloween Is So Fun

Remember, one day you won’t be able to do this.

Although Halloween today appears more of a holiday for kids young and old it had a very practical reason for existing in ancient times. None the least being that it is a reminder that you’re still alive and able to party and not six feet under, yet.

‘…adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

‘The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.

‘Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.’

[The two top pics below are from after the band Forest Grove played night before last at The Black Cat bar in San Diego.]

Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.

Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.

Two-thirds of Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.

Two-thirds of Forest Grove at The Black Cat, photo by Robert Rowsey.

Samhain

Samhain

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