Hallowe’en Means Community!!

The Official Krisztina Blogsite

So what are your kids dressing up as this Hallowe’en? I hear Michael Jackson is popular, as is Harry Potter, Edward & Bella & Jacob, Hannah Montana, Star Trek characters and GI Joe Ninja. My personal favourite would have to be a nod toward Twilight! But it got me to thinking about the origins of Hallowe’en – the costumes, the trick-or-treating, the apple-bobbing, the pumpkin carving etc. Except for the apple-bobbing, I’m doing it all this year – so make sure if you’re in the area, stop by…adults will be treated to my special Hungarian gluvine recipe – a hot mulled, spiced wine.

halloween girls

Hallowe’en is big business (more than $5 billion in the U.S. last year!). So just where did this sense of neighbourhood and community come from? Many of you may already know, but being that this is primarily a Northern England and North American festivity, it was all new to me. It dates back to the ancient Celtic festivals over 2,000 years ago. Their New Year was on November 1 and they celebrated it, the harvest and the end of summer with sacred bonfires, dressing up in animal heads and skins. Then by AD 43 the Romans conquered the territory and for the next 400 years combined 2 festivals on this day – Feralia (Passing of the Dead) and Pomona (Roman goddess of fruit and trees). Her symbol is the apple, explaining that bobbing for apples thing. By the 800’s, Christianity had come and the Pope designated November 1 All Saints’ Day. It was also called All-hallows or All Hallowmas (from English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints!)…and the night before came to be All-Hallows Eve or Hallowe’en. As European immigrants came to America, they brought their customs with them (although in early puritanical New England, celebrating was limited). In the late 1800’s there was a move in America to mold Hallowe’en into a holiday more about community and neighbourly get-togethers than about harvest and ghost stories. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries old practice of trick-or-treating (going door to door for All Soul’s cakes) was revived by advertisers. (It always comes down to the advertisers, doesn’t it!!) So there it is, in a nutshell. Ohhh, speaking of nutshells, I must say, I LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds. I salvage every last one of them from all 6 pumpkins that I have carved for the day. And as for the pumpkin carving, there is a history to it – but I can’t fit it in this nutshell!! I guess I’ll save that one for next year.

Working as a Real Estate Agent in the North Oakville area and living in the Oak Park neighbourhood, Hallowe’en is a perfect occasion for me to throw my doors open and go to excess in the decorating department (right down to the spotlights!). I love that my real estate clients and my neighbours can drop by for a hot beverage and lots of treats for the little ones. (Speaking of excess, I always over-do it in the treat department – I’ve never gotten that ratio right!). So as I mentioned, if you’re in the ‘hood, I hope I’ll see you on Hallowe’en!


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