As we get ready to party, go trick and treating, and enjoy time with friends, I wonder how many of us really think about the Origins of Halloween?
It is said that Halloween began in Ireland, originating in Pagan times. Many countries celebrate this day although the traditions can vary from one country to the next.
One thing they all have in common is that they are a celebration of those who have passed. For instance,
- In Austria bread, water and a lighted lamp are left out to welcome dead souls back to earth.
- In Belgium it is the custom to light candles on this night in honor of their dead.
- In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed around the fireplace, one for each living family member and one for the spirit of each of their family members who have passed on.
- In some parts of Germany, the tradition is to put away all knives so as to prevent harm to, or from, the returning spirits.
- In Hong Kong October 31 is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours.
The English stopped celebrating Halloween in 1517 when Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation began to spread. Sometime after 1605 they started celebrating Guy Fawkes day on November 5. This was in memory of the Catholic Plot to blow up the Protestant English Parliament. Bonfires were lit across the country. People made lanterns from carved out turnips and children went begging for “a penny for the guy”. The pennies were collected in order to buy more wood for the bonfire upon which Guy Fawkes was to be burned alive.
One of the origins of “trick or treating” appears to refer to the practice of souling. People went from door to door on or about All Souls Day (November 2) to solicit gifts of food in return for prayers for the dead. The practice is believed to have evolved from a pagan ritual that was practiced all over Europe, possibly as early as the 10th century. Failure to supply the food would result in practical jokes being played on the home owners.
Now to decide which essential oils I want to use in my ‘Halloween Blend’ this year. There are lots of ideas in my Halloween Blog of last year or my Halloween in Essential Oils blog from a couple of years before. Will you make a Halloween Blend for your celebrations and if you do what oils will you use?