Monday, October 16, 2006

The Wonders of Halloween

October. I was born in it, I enjoy it the most. It's a favorite month of many here in Pennsylvania because of the excellent views with the changing leaves. We've gotten some beautiful days lately, days that don't stir images of anything demented or dark. But decorations are popping up everywhere from ghosts and goblins to witches and foam gravestones. Halloween – it’s a favorite of mine, right up there with Christmas. Though Christmas wins top rank because of family gatherings, Halloween ranks because of its history and promises of mystery and intrigue.

Oh, the history. What I’ve learned of ancient civilizations I’ve learned on my own, digging in research for my novels and what I found surprised me a bit, especially because of the images and thoughts around Halloween today.

It wasn’t a holiday of evil things but rather a celebration of harvest. It is the time of year when the growing seasons come to an end. It’s a time to prepare and settle in for winter – the start of the new year by the Celtics.
Where did the images come from that we see today? It was thought on the eve of Samhain that the lines between the dead and the living would thin. Scary images and masks were used to frighten evil spirits away (though I have to wonder why anything evil would be frightened of anything).

I’ve never seen fall as the “end” of anything but rather a beginning, the same as I view the night. I’ve been told over and over how “backward” I am because I don’t truly come awake until evening hits and then my creative side soars late into the night. But I have to wonder, am I really the backward one? If fall was really the start of a new year and night seen the start of a new day, maybe I’m not so odd after all :)

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