Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Day Before All Hallows Eve

The day before the great pumpkin rises and I have just gotten my decorations underway. I think I hid/threw away all the tacky paper pictures the grandparents brought last year for the kids to decorate with. I know thay meant well, but the whole wicked witch with the green face and the evil black cat are kind of offensive to me as symbols of the season.

Traditionally, All Hallows, or Samhain, was known as the Feast Of The Dead. In the Celtic culture ancestor worship was a part of this festival, along with the more colorful belief that the division between this world and the next was open at this time. It also marked the end of the year in the Celtic calendar; the end of the growing season, and the beginning of the winnowing time.

Tomorrow will be something of a whirlwind, trying to juggle the holiday activities at school with the mad dash to carve pumpkins (I think we might just do them ahead this year); getting ready for the Trick-or-Treaters, and trying to observe our own End-of-Year ritual (all the pumpkins and candles must be lit at sunset, to mark the end of the last day and light our way into the darkness of winter).

I love that on Hallow 'een, we take back our neighborhood streets and go out among our neighbors to meet and greet. Its the problem I have with the whole Trick-or Treat thing at a mall or a church - our fear of trouble on "the streets" isn't helped by running away from the neighborhood - this is the one time during the year that you can go out freely into your neighborhood, walk the streets with your kids, talk to people, and reclaim the streets of your neighborhood. Not participating in that leaves not only dark doors and gaps in the place you live, but it affects the community's sense of itself as a whole. I think we should take advantage of this time of year and the carte blanche it gives us to approach our neighbors and get to know each other. Communication with one another is a far greater defense for the quality of a community than running away.

Samhain Greetings to All! and a Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Samhain greetings to you too! This post was great (nice gourds!), and I agree whole heartedly with you on the whole neighborhood solidarity thing. I felt a little guilty not participating last year. So,even though I am sans children, my pumpkins will be lit and my door will be open. Oh.. and did I mention there will be chocolate??? - Bea the good witch.

flutter said...

how gorgeous is that blue wall?

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Isn't funny how churches take this pagan holiday and make it all Jesus for Pumpkins!! hehe!

(Shhhh....the whole idea that the door between the living and dead is open this one day, I don't think it ever closes. shhhhh...they think I'm crazy enough as it is.)