Saturday, 27 October 2012

All Hallows Eve: Fact or Fiction?

Nowadays we equate Halloween with costumed kids running around on sugar overload. However, the night before All Hallows Day (1 November) used to be about something not nearly as scary but probably a bit more meaningful. It is a brief moment in the course of the year when the curtain that separates this world from the next is at its thinnest, when some of us on this side of the living see those on the other side or, even more disturbing, those others can slip on over to our side of the neighbourhood.
Halloween initially was a ceremony to honour our ancestors, a day to remember the dead. More ominously, the Celts believed it was a day when the normal laws of space and time were temporarily absent and the dead could hop on over to celebrate with their families. What their families might have thought of that is another issue entirely. Mexico and ancient Egypt also had a day to acknowledge the deceased.
Of course, we can’t talk about Halloween and forget the truckloads of vegetables we carve up every year. We can thank the Irish for our Jack-o-lanterns, although they originally used turnips. The intricately butchered veggies were used as a way to provide light for Jack, a tricky fellow who even managed to outwit the devil himself. Sadly, Jack's tricks caught up with him and St. Peter denied him access through the pearly gates. The devil didn’t want him either, so Jack wonders around, quite lost but still full of tricks.

So what tricks do you have planned this Hallows Eve?

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