Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bring on the Long-Leggedy Beasties!

It's not clear whether that litany originated long ago in the churches of Ireland, Scotland... or was it Cornwall? A prayer to be recited on 31 October, the vigil, or eve, of All Hallows (All Saints Day), the eve now popularly known as Halloween. Most writers in the USA have dropped the apostrophe (Hallowe'en), I'll follow suit.

Ireland, Scotland or Cornwall? Opinions vary. Ireland sits apart from Britain, a stretch of sea between them, Scotland is the extreme north of Britain, Cornwall the extreme south-west, all tend to retain traditions for the longest time, the sweeping brush of modernity takes longer to reach there to clear cobwebs. Ireland, Scotland or Cornwall - all could be correct....or none of them. The saying could just as easily have been dreamed up by some Victorian entrepreneur to help sell Halloween to The Great Unwashed.

Halloween: a special night during the time our Sun is moving through zodiac sign Scorpio, whose ruler is Pluto, planet of darkness, power and transformation. How better to represent all of this, cheerily and safely within the real world, than to do dress-up, an easy way to transform ourselves; then, using October's crop of pumpkins, carve frightening faces to be lit by a candle, so dispelling the darkness?

It's fun for the kids, and for the rest of us, as we open the door, bowl of candies in hand, to see the faces of the tiniest ones filled with excitement and puzzlement, wondering what the heck this is all about.

I like these verses from Haunted Houses
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - they're kind of apt for today:

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.


mike said...

I looked-up dia de los muertos - Day of the Dead - on Wiki and was referred to Allhallowtide:

"Allhallowtide, Hallowtide, Allsaintstide, or the Hallowmas season, is the triduum encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows' Eve (Hallowe'en), All Saints' Day (All Hallows') and All Souls' Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 annually."

It appears that Halloween has its roots in wonder it's so spooky! It seems that many cultures did practice a non-Christian celebration of departed souls, but oddly, most were in the spring season.

I thoroughly enjoyed Halloween when I was a child, probably the free candy more than the costumes, but rapidly disregarded it upon adulthood. I feel that I have a responsibility to provide treats to the younguns as payback, but I also find it a tedious task. I usually pass-out ten bags of candy and run-out around 9 PM...maybe 150 tricksters. I always find pleasure in the kids replete in their costumes and excitement, but I'm finding the adults begging for treats to be an increasing phenomenon. Plus, there are always extra bags for "the tiny ones at home that are too young to be out"...well, I say they are too young for the treats then. My favorites are the adults pushing a stroller with a six-month-old, but carrying a bag for the infant...yeah. I don't like being a curmudgeon, but a large portion of my candy distributions are going to adults and their so-called at-home-kids...I don't like that...I tell the adults that I don't appreciate being panhandled and I usually withhold, but I don't like the extra words to defend the candy for the kids that do show-up. We have a couple of hospitals and dentists that offer $1 per pound of treats...that's about one-third to one-fourth what it costs me to purchase the treats...what a deal for the candy manufacturers and kids! This may be my last year...LOL. We have a cold front moving through late this afternoon...forecast is for clearing and a fine night for the goblins.

Have a spooktacular evening!

mike (again) said...

P.S. - In my days of trick-or-treating, I received few commercial candies. Most of the treats I received were homemade: popcorn balls, fresh or caramel apples, brownies, cookies, etc. One can be arrested now-a-day for distributing such delights...or the treats will be discarded out of fear. My mom usually made popcorn balls or rice crispy squares to distribute. Several neighbors would invite us tricksters inside to select from a table of homemade treats...very nice...I suspect similar activity now would be an invitation to receive a house-call from the police!

Sonny G said...

It sure has changed since I was a kid. As Mike said- we were often welcomed inside for hot cocoa and to get warm before we journeyed out for more treats.

8 or 10 little to medium size kids walking different neighborhoods without a single thought by child or adult of anything bad happening..

there wont be any trick or treaters in this community. its gated and what few kids there are go to carnivals or stores where they give out candy n treats on the sidewalk. The mini mall close by has a goblin in front of each store that hands out treats. makes it nice for the parents and they don't have to worry so much.
theres also an age limit, 12 and under..
I agree- late teens and adults going to door to door is rude~!

I might ride up there this evening to see all the costumes..

Twilight said...

mike ~ The "trick or treat" thing has become mixed up with Halloween, especially in the USA. Not sure how that came about. Growing up in England, after the war and into the 1950s there was no such thing as "trick or treat" that I recall. I think I eventually read about it going on in the USA. I do remember there was something in England known as "Mischief Night" at or around the Oct/Nov cusp....WIKI reminds me that it took place on either the night before Halloween or the night before Guy Fawkes bonfire night, that'd be 4 Nov. (I think it was probably the latter in our area). The mischief consisted of things like taking someone's garden gate off its hinges, mis-placing stuff in gardens - general pranks, usually not too well-received but tolerated because...tradition. It wasn't a widespread thing like "trick or treat" is here though.

You obviously get many more candy visitors than we do, out here on the edge of town.
We do usually get a few, almost always accompanied by adults because there's no proper street lighting here, and most kids have to be ferried around in cars/trucks. Husband has two great-grandkiddies of the age that best enjoys dress-up, we'll certainly be seeing them at the door this evening + a handful of others. :-)

Enjoy your ghoulies and ghosties!

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ That's another variation of what goes on on Halloween night 21st century style then! Interesting. The old style you and mike describe appeals most to me - ha, those innocent long ago days!...Well, they're actually not THAT long ago really, as time spans go, but thing have changed so rapidly during our lifetimes.

Sonny G said...

Its fun hearing the difference between our celebrations and what you had, Annie.

I always forget ya'll didn't have Thanksgiving.
Was there anything like that where you lived?

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ No - nothing like Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Year were the only real celebration times at this time of year. We had Nov. 5th - "bonfire night" which isn't applicable in the USA, as you didn't have Guy Fawkes trying to blow up parliament in 1605 - come to think of it you didn't have a parliament to blow up back then. ;-). Thanksgiving isn't applicable in the UK (not that we didn't have anything to be thankful for - just that we didn't have the particular reasons to be thankful that early settlers in this country had!)

Sonny G said...

I know you have another blog about your ancestry but I hope you'll maybe make a day of the week here where you'd tell us stories of your life.

to me that would be so enjoyable...

just a suggestion of course:)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Thank you for the suggestion - it's kind of you to consider that it'd be an enjoyable read. :-) I've usually felt that it'd be too self-indulgent to ever begin something along those lines. I have thrown in a few brief bits and piece here and there over the years, usually to link with astro transits or other astro stuff. Perhaps I could search around to weed out some of those as skeletons on which to build, add more surrounding detail and background, fill in the non-astrological gaps.

I'll chew on it, Sonny, and possibly begin a series of "Self-indulgence Saturday/Sunday" weekend posts. :-)

Anonymous said...

Happily ... the Force is strong with these people ...

Feel free to scan the comments ...


Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~ Awwww ! Adorabubble!

Gracious me! We fell asleep in front of the TV. Good thing we have to put the clock back an hour!

mike (again) said...

I sent this link to my sister, who does genealogy, and she wasn't familiar with it. Appears to provide free information, so you might find it useful. Here's the UK section:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thank you! Anyjazz passed on the USA/Canada link to me recently, this UK one will be more useful! I've given up all hope of ever breaking through my two most obstinate "brick walls": identifying paternal grandfather's father, and maternal great-grandfather's background - he must have given census takers wrong info about his place of birth - or there was some misunderstanding about it. :-/