Friday, October 28, 2016

Pumpkins, Kitties, Witches and Books, Oh My!

Watercolors from 2015


The origin of Halloween and many of its customs can be traced to Samhain(pronounced sow-in, which rhymes with cow-in), an ancient pagan Celtic festival that was celebrated to mark the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year. The 2-day celebration began at sundown on October 31. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, thereby making it a good time to communicate with the deceased and to divine the future. Samhain is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” a day to bid good-bye to warmth and light as the day length shortens.
Following the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century A.D., the Romans incorporated many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify, or make holy. All Saints’ Day is known in England as All Hallows’ Day. 
Eight hundred years after the triumph of the Holy Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints. It was celebrated with a mass, bonfires, and people costumed as angels and saints parading through the villages.
Just as November 1 was once called All Hallows’ Day, October 31 was called All Hallows’ Eve. Over time, All Hallows’ Eve was shortened to Halloween.

Farmer Joes


Turnip lanterns predate pumpkins as jack-o-lanterns.
In ancient Ireland, revelers would hollow out large turnips,
or potatoes or beets, and carve them a demon's face to frighten away spirits.
They would light the turnips from within with a candle 
or a piece of smoldering coal.
They then placed the lanterns in the windows and doorways of their homes,
in the belief that the carvings would scare off evil spirits
and welcome deceased loved ones inside.
Irish immigrants arriving in the New World during the early 1800s
found the plentiful, easier to carve pumpkins ready substitutes for turnips.

One more interesting fact about Halloween.
Did you know that it was once celebrated on Thanksgiving?
You can read all about that on Mental Floss here.


I've been so busy knitting that I haven't done a lot of reading, 
but I did finish THE DEVIL'S DREAM by Lee Smith.
It follows several generations of a Southern family living in the Appalachians.
From simple hymns, old-time medicine shows, radio barn dances, sleazy rockabilly joints,
primitive recording sessions, to the Grand Ole Opry 
and tales of growing up in the Appalachian south. 
Lee Smith is a wonderful story teller and the lure of music is something I think
anyone can identify with. I even remember some of the songs mentioned.


Sometimes I think I visit Starbucks too often.
The barista knows what I'm going to order before I do!


Zipper Owl

This little fella flew in from Louisiana from one of my sisters by choice.
She knows how much I love owls and enjoy Halloween.
He's called a zipper owl.
I think you can see why.
I've never seen one like him.
He's a great addition to the Parliament!

Wishing YOU well, much joy and a Haunting Halloween!

Willy Nilly Friday
Five on Friday
Monday Social
Mosaic Monday

"A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween."
~Erma Bombeck

* Information from the Old Farmer's Almanac.
You can see the entire article here.


mamasmercantile said...

Such an interesting post, it was good to learn so much more about Halloween, It is a custom that we don't bother too much about. Wishing you a Happy Halloween.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Oh, this is a fun post! Love your Parliament! Such a cute collection :) I come from Gaelic immigrants - no wonder I love Halloween so much.....Those turnips were just too darned hard to carve! Love the Erma Bombeck quote. She is one of my favorites. Happy Halloween! xx Karen

Amy at love made my home said...

Interesting to read more Halloween facts! Hope you enjoy the day - or evening! Thank you for being part of Five On Friday, hope you have a great weekend!

Tom said...

That owl is a hoot!

Sharon Koole said...

Thanks for your Halloween post for your Five on Friday. Nice, interesting facts.

Barb said...

Zipper is very cute! I enjoyed your history lesson. We never get trick or treaters where we live on a dead end road. However, my Grands love to dress in costume.

Christine said...

Oh I love your newest zipper owl!

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Well that was quite an interesting read about Halloween. I did not know the origins at all. And your little zipper owl is adorable. I hope you have a Spooktacular Halloween.

Adam said...

Pagan sure knew how to party didn't they? All the best part of the holidays come from these traditions.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

I learned so much from this post I'm going to recommend it to all my family. The owls are adorable. thanks for the info.

riitta k said...

Your zipper owl is so pretty! Halloween is not yet a big fiesta in Finland. Some people do celebrate though, especially young families with small children. Enjoy your weekend!

Mac n' Janet said...

Great owl, that's what I look like after too much coffee.

Crimson Kettle said...

Wishing you a happy Halloween!

eclectichomelife said...

Great Halloween facts. Enjoy Halloween x

Helen Campbell said...

Your cats and witch are adorable - or are they supposed to be spooky? ;) Happy PPF!

Rosie said...

Such a great post, I've enjoyed reading. The zipper owl is wonderful. Have a great Halloween:)

aspiritofsimplicity said...

I enjoyed your information about Halloween and learned a few new things. I live just one town over from Salem, MA and Halloween is a very big deal there!! It's crazy, crazy, crazy!!

doodles n daydreams said...

A really interesting halloween post :)


Karen @ away for the weekend said...

I never knew that about Halloween - the old Celtic tradition. That's a very cute owl. Enjoy Halloween!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow, what a great history lesson regarding Halloween! So interesting.
I love the owls....they're just adorable.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Very interesting post - and love the zipper owl, so clever. Love your header too. Happy week ahead.

Botanic Bleu said...

This is a great post about Halloween and its origins. Thanks for sharing at Monday Social.


Maggie said...

It's good to remember the legends surrounding All Hallows Eve and not let the folklore be overtaken by tacky modern day celebrations centred around sweets and silly japes. One little known fact about the 31st October is that it was the day my Dad was born in 1928!
Happy Halloween and Happy Mosaic Monday!

abrianna said...

That zippered owl is cute.

Anonymous said...

The water color mosaic is so cute. I like it! Great post for this particular Monday! Have a great week.

bj said...

what a great post...and very informative...
and I fell totally in love with Zipper !

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your Halloween watercolors are very nostalgic and cute, Snap! I love the owl--I always feel fortunate when I see (or hear)one here as I never saw them in NY.

I remember researching the meaning of Halloween years ago for one of my children's class. The teacher always had a parent explain the meaning of a holiday to the students, and that was my assignment. It is amazing how Halloween has grown into a billion dollar holiday!

Eilis said...

What a great history of Halloween. My mom grew up in Ireland and had told me that they carved turnips when she was a child. Love your owl collection. Thank you for joining Monday Social!

Lorrie said...

Your Parliament of owls is looking very wise with the new addition. Such a clever idea!

Bee Lady said...

Interesting post on Halloween history. And I love your owls! Nice of your "sister" to send you the zipper owl. So cute.

Cindy Bee

Sarah said...

Sorry I'm so late to read this post. House guest all last week and no time for blog visits.
Great post on Halloween. Your new Zipper Owl is adorable as is the vignette. Adding it to my Pinterest board.