Monday, October 31, 2011


Witches and spooks might come a-knocking on your door on the night of October 31. Send them away if you will, by all means, but not because they're enacting a foreign custom. Most Aussies unwittingly have Halloween customs deep within their rattling bones.
Halloween was already an ancient festival of souls 2,000 years ago. It has long been commemorated in countries from Ireland and Poland to Mexico and the Philippines (where trick-or-treating is called Nangangaluluwa, and your chickens are in danger of being purloined).
Halloween customs are relatively new to Australia, but are rapidly establishing themselves. When you come to think of it, every old, cherished custom was once a new-fangled idea, even in the BCE.
The ancient Druids of Britain and Ireland, whose mysteries held sway for centuries before the Romans came to those islands, celebrated a spooky night on October 31. These pagans – Druids, and the Celts in general, of whom they were the priestly class – called it Samhain (pronounced sow-wen – sow as in pig). In the Northern Hemisphere, the day which falls slap bang between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, is November 1. The eve of Samhain, October 31, was the night the lord of death was said to judge the souls of the departed ...
Much more at October 31 in Wilson's Almanac. Have fun!


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