Thursday, October 28, 2010
Trick or Treat!
In every Irish settlement, families honored their forebears by inviting them into their homes even as they warded off harm by dressing in costumes and masks to thwart evil spirits. While housewives prepared food for both the living and the dead, their farmer husbands inventoried food supplies and slaughtered livestock to augment their winter diets. The people allowed their household fires to go out, and they tossed the animals’ bones and other various sacrifices onto communal bonfires from which each hearth was ceremoniously relit.
The arrival of Christianity incorporated the Samhain celebration into the Christian calendar by renaming October
31st All Saints’ Day and November 1st All Souls’ Day. Several customs survived these name changes, including the wearing of costumes and masks. The Irish who emigrated during the 19th century famine carried their Halloween customs to America, where they melded with the harvest traditions of other cultures.
Best wishes for a fun and safe Halloween!
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