Posts tagged ‘Halloween’
Crisp apples dipped in sweet cinnamon caramel, tinted orange & decorated w/orange licorice to look like sweet mini pumpkins
http://bakingdom.com/2011/09/cinnamon-caramel-apple-pumpkins.html <- recipe Great for Parties
Please help me increase this posts reach! √ Like √ Comment √ Share √ Thank you! Confessions of Crafty Witches
HEX: Old World Witchery
Long before the Americans invented Halloween the Irish were celebrating Samhain a great druidic festival that marked the boundary between our world and the spirit world.
Samhain – a celtic festival
In druidic times Samhain marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. The Celtic New Year’s Eve was a mysterious moment which belonged neither to the past nor the present. Samhain was considered the third and last harvest of the growing year. Fruit and nuts were the last gifts of nature to be gathered and the apple in particular was the symbol of this harvest.
During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, and danced around the bonfire. Many of these dances told stories or played out the cycles of life and death or commemorated the cycle of Wheel of Life. These costumes were adorned for three primary reasons.
The first was to honor the dead who were allowed to rise from the Otherworld. The Celts believed that souls were set free from the land of the dead during the eve of Samhain. Those that had been trapped in the bodies of animals were released by the Lord of the Dead and sent to their new incarnations. The wearing of these costumes signified the release of these souls into the physical world.
Not all of these souls were honored and respected. Some were also feared as they would return to the physical world and destroy crops, hide livestock or ‘haunt’ the living who may have done them wrong. The second reason for these traditional costumes was to hide from these malevolent spirits to escape their trickery.
The final representation was a method to honor the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of the harvest, fields and flocks. Giving thanks and homage to those deities who assisted the village or clan through the trials and tribulations of the previous year. And to ask for their favor during the coming year and the harsh winter months that were approaching.
In addition to celebrations and dance, it was believed that this thin veil between the physical world and the Otherworld provided extra energy for communications between the living and the dead. With these communications, Druid Priests, and Celtic Shamans would attempted to tell the fortunes of individual people through a variety of methods. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
These psychic readings would be conducted with a variety of divination tools. Such as throwing bones, or casting the Celtic Ogham. There is some historical evidence that additional tools of divination were also used. Most of this comes from writings recorded by Roman invaders, but there are stories of reading tea leaves, rocks and twigs, and even simple spiritual communications that today we’d call Channeling. Some historians have suggested that these early people were the first to use tiles made from wood and painted with various images which were the precursor to Tarot Cards. There’s no real evidence to support this, but the ‘story’ of these tiles has lingered for centuries.
When the community celebration was over, each family would take a torch or burning ember from the sacred bonfire and return to their own home. The home fires that has been extinguished during the day were re-lit by the flame of the sacred bonfire to help protect the dwelling and it’s inhabitants during the coming winter. These fires were kept burning night and day during the next several months. It was believed that if a home lost it’s fire, tragedy and troubles would soon follow.
With the hearth fires lit, the families would place food and drink outside their doors. This was done to appease the roaming spirits who might play tricks on the family.
The Romans began to conquer the Celtic territories. By A.D. 43 they had succeeded in claiming the majority of the Celtic lands. They ruled for approximately four hundred years combining or influencing many Celtic traditional celebrations with their own. Two Roman holidays were merged with Samhain.
Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead.
Pomona’s Day of Honoring, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
FEILE NA MARBH – the dead walk abroad
At Samhain the spirits of the dead sought the warmth of the fireside and communion with their living kin. This time was also known as Féile na Marbh (the Feast of the Dead). As the veil between worlds thinned, all manner of spirits walked abroad at Samhain, including those of loved ones passed on. An empty chair by the fire was often left free along with a candle in the window to guide the ghosts home for comfort and seek their blessing for the coming year. In time the candle was placed inside a turnip lantern upon which a demon’s face was carved to scare off unfriendly spirits.
The tradition of wearing of costumes and masks at Samhain developed to deceive these same unfriendly spirits lest they recognised you and called you to the Otherworld before your time. Nervous living folk would attempt to appease the wandering spirit with gifts of fruit and nuts, which may be the origin of the ubiquitous treat or treating.
Peel an apple to predict a spouse.
Samhain was also a time for divination and apples were predominant among the tools used to tell the future. Bobbing for apples or snapapple was used as a race among unmarried contestants – the winner who took the first bite of the apple was destined to be the first to wed, alternatively the winner was destined for good luck in the coming year. An unmarried girl would attempt to peel an apple in one long strip and cast the peel over her shoulder. The peel would reveal the initial of her future husband. Before the stroke of midnight a person would sit in a room in front of a mirror lit by only one candle and cut an apple into nine pieces. With their back to the mirror they would ask the question they wanted answered and eat eight of the apple pieces. The ninth would be thrown over their left shoulder. Then they would turn and look over the same shoulder into the mirror where they would see a symbol or image that would answer their question.
A fruit loaf called barm brack was baked at Samhain with tokens wrapped in greaseproof paper. If you found a token in your slice of barm brack this also foretold your future. The type of tokens varied by family but common examples were:
A ring – marriage within the year
A silver coin – riches
A rag or pea – poverty
A stick – an unhappy marriage
Barm Brack = fortune telling food.
Barm Brack = fortune telling food.
In some areas Colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes, cabbage with either ham or bacon, was cooked with similar tokens placed into the dish.
HOW SAMHAIN BECAME HALLOWEEN
With the coming of Christianity to Ireland in the 7th century Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was originally celebrated
On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Library of Congress
Pagan Celtic Britain by Anne Ross
via:Love and light
Samhain is here, cold is the earth, as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil, the lines between worlds are thin and frail.
Ghosts and spirits in the night, magical beings rising in flight, owls hooting up in a moonlit tree, I don’t fear you and you don’t fear me.
As the sun goes down, far to the west, my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear, on the night of Samhain, the Witch’s New Year.
pic from fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net
poem by Cathy McKenzie