Sunday, 18 October 2015

Samhain- Halooween Connection

1.Why do we dress up for Halloween?  This is what Middle 3 found out....
Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. 
What did the Celts dress-up as? People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. The probably dressed up in animal skins and heads (e.g. goat, sheep). 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 (This was given to the less well-off). It probably lookes a little like the picture below:
We didn't want to scare everyone so you will have to use your imagination to envisage the Celts dressed up in the animal skins and masks....
2. Where does the tradition of Jack O'Lantern come from? Does this have it's origin in Celtic tradition? This is what Middle 3 found out.... Good story...a bit scary!!
There is some debate about the origination of Jack-o-lanterns. One line suggests this custom originated from the lighting of candles for the dead to follow as they walked the earth. These candles were placed in hallowed out gourds and put on the ground to light the way.

Others suggest the practice originates from a Christianized Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."
Stingy Jack and the Devil enter a pub to have a drink. Jack convinces the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks. But instead of using the coin, Jack slipped it into his pocket and next to a silver cross. The cross prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. But Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year. And if Jack should die during that year, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil agreed to these terms.

Jack again tricked the Devil. This time, the Devil climbed into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down. Once again, Jacked struck a bargain with the Devil. He would free the Devil from the tree if he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years. And if Jack died during those years, the Devil would not claim his soul. And the Devil again agreed to these terms.

Not long after this, Jack did indeed died. But because of his trickery, God would not allow him into heaven. In keeping his word not to take his soul, the Devil also would not allow Jack into hell. Instead, the Devil sent Jack out into the darkness of the world between worlds with nothing but a burning piece of coal. Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The Irish began to refer to Jack's ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply as "Jack O'Lantern."
Poor Old Jack...what a sad end...Have you a pumpkin ready for Halloween!!!!!

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