Blue Butterfly

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trick or Treat... .

Hello and Happy Trick or Treating to all you Fabulous Bloganistas!!

How did Halloween Start???

Halloween was started thousands of years ago, by the Europeans. Read on to know more...
Thousands of years ago, there lived a tribe known as Celts in Ireland and in Northern France. The Celts were pre-Christians and worshiped "Nature". Their livelihood revolved around sowing and harvesting food crops.

In ancient times, winter was the season that was associated with hunger and death. Celts believed the last day of October marked the end of summer and November was the beginning of winter. So, they celebrated the eve of New Year on October 31, of each year, with a festival called "Samhain". This festival was presided by Celtic priests called Druids.

Celts also believed the spirits of the dead would visit them. Therefore, they left delicious food and drinks on the front porch for the spirits. With the spreading of Christianity, November 1st of every year, is celebrated as "All Saint’s Day". The eve of November 1st, is known as "All Hakkiwe’en" or "Halloween".

One of the primary reasons behind the Halloween celebration is the harvest festival. Warding off the evils, in many different ways, remains another important reason behind Halloween. Why do we celebrate Halloween would give you more information.

Often, we do things we are supposed to, without knowing why we do them. This commonly happens in case of celebrations, customs and old traditions. This is evident from the fact that many people celebrate this festival without knowing the history and origin of Halloween.
The colours of Halloween are Black and Orange - Black indicating the end of the year or season when the dark days of Winter come in, and Orange for harvesting. 
Scottish Halloween Traditions
October is a time when the seasons change. In Scotland it is a time when the nights grow darker and the wind chill rises as its lamenting howls are heard throughout the countryside. Its also the month when the Celtic people of old Scotland marked the end of their calendar year. Halloween, which the Celts called Samhain and which translates as Summers end, is celebrated on October 31st. It signifies the close of the light half of the year and the beginning of the dark part. The months ahead would be cold and harsh, so on that night great feasts were held, and bonfires lit throughout the countryside.
Free the souls of the dead
Like many ancient festivals, Samhain continued with the coming of Christianity. November 1st was henceforth to be All Saints Day. The night before was Eve of All Saints Day, or the Eve of All Hallows. But while the name might have changed, old habits persisted. Halloween was a time when witches and warlocks might walk abroad, engaged in wicked practices. In many parts of Scotland it was customary to leave an empty chair and a plate of food for invisible guests. People believed that it was the night when the souls of the dead were set free to roam. They might come into their houses and eat at their tables. The hour before midnight was the witching hour when the departed returned. Silence was marked as the chimes of midnight rang out.
Its not hard to understand why, in Scotland of all places, Halloween continued to be important. Much of the nations history involves the supernatural. From the witches of Macbeth as imagined by William Shakespeare to the real burning of women, accused of working with the devil, in a rash of satanic trials during the seventeenth century. There is a special atmosphere in many parts of Scotland even to this day where, as daylight fades, the flames of Halloween bonfires show up ancient ramparts of castles and buildings where devilish deeds once may have been done.
From pagans to parties
Robert Burns, Scotland's greatest bard, wrote extensively of how ancient beliefs had survived well into the Christian era, as he twisted stories of witchcraft and the devil with the traditions kept alive during Halloween. What is remarkable is how so much of the pagan past persists to this day. Bonfires, which once were lit to scare away the undead, still illuminate the October sky. Lanterns, which in Scotland were always carved out of turnips (Rutabagas), are fashioned for the same purpose. Until recently trick or treat was unknown in Scotland. Instead children here dressed up in old clothes, blackened their faces or pretended to be evil spirits and went guising (guysing) The custom traces back to a time when it was thought that by disguising children in this way they would blend in with the spirits that went abroad that night. Any such child who approached a house would be given an offering to ward off evil. These days children who knock on their neighbours doors have to sing for their supper. Or tell stories for a gift of sweets or money.
Old customs and the modern world
Children's parties are still an important element of Halloween. One of the most popular games in Scotland is dookin' for apples, where bairns (children) put their hands behind their backs and with their mouths try and grab apples from a basin full of water.
Apple dookin usually follows on from the game of treacle scones. Here again the hands of the children are put behind their backs and sometimes they are also blindfolded. Participants are invited to bite a scone, covered in treacle, hanging from a rope. Messy faces are usually then washed in the apple basin!
As part of the Tweed Valley Forest Festival in November 2008, the town of Peebles set the world record for the most amount of people to dook for apples at one time.

So until next time, keep an eye out for those wee ghouls and goblins - cheerio, toodle pips and all that jazz. "E"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to MacTavish!!!

Good Afternoon to all you Fabulous Bloganistas... .    Today is Saturday the 1st of October 2011 and my wee dog MacTavish is 15 years old (or 103 in people years).  This is a picture of Mac-Attack in his hay-day having a nap on Bob's shoulder, but still keeping an eye to Paisley.  Tonight he will have a family party for him and he'll chow down his New York Strip Steak (Bob too) and a special cupcake that is Doggy Friendly.  He's a great wee fella and has given Bob and I so many years of pleasure - if you look further down the Blog you will see a picture of him with his sister Nessie who went up to Doggy Heaven on the 9th of August 2010.  So, to all you dog lovers out there, let's hear a loud Rah, Rah, Rah, for our boy MacTavish.
Recently I got the canning bug and made Zucchini Relish - have to say, toot, toot, everything turned out great so this morning I pickled the last of my Jalapeno peppers - my son Robert, loves them so he got the last of the crop from my wee strip garden - next year watch out, I'll borrow Anna's soil tiller and will have a bigger space in which to grow my tomatoes, peppers, squash etc.,  This is a picture of them before I take them up to him in Wexford.
Well, my dear Bloganistas, time to go get some polishing etc., done, yuk!!!  Until next time, cheerio, toodle pips, adios and all that jazz.  "E"

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