Monday, October 27, 2014

The Halloween "Jack-o-Lantern" Part III

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

". . . . .Older than any of these prophecy games was the "tricks or . treats" custom. Seems that on Hallowe'en, peasants went about the countryside, demanding contributions of farmers in the name
of a Druid God. If the farmers were generous and "treated" all was well, but if not "tricks" were performed on him; after a good night's haul, the peasants were loaded with potatoes, butter, eggs, turnips and such "gifts".
Although there were no pumpkins in Ireland in those days, the turnip was hollowed out, a live coal placed within, thus making a lantern. The pumpkin came to be used in America and the "Hallowe'en symbol" was called "Jacko-Lantern" from a spirit named "Jack" who was not allowed in either Heaven or Hades because of a trick he once played on Satan. On Hallowe'en he wanders over the earth with his strange lantern. 

The same night in the Roman Catholic church is called "All Soul's Eve" or "Hallowed Evening"; so after the missionaries converted the Druids, the Christian world adopted the pagan festival days as

a time for fun and celebration.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween "Spooks" Part II

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

". . . . Accordingly, many peasants of Scotland and Ireland followed a Hallowe'en custom of waving pitchforks full of burning straw in the air, hoping to chase away evil spirits and set on fire the brooms
of any witches flying past.
It was common for European races to believe in witches, hence the peasants of Ireland, Scotland and England taught their children how witches mounted on brooms with black cats behind them, would sometimes fly through the night on their way to a "Witches' Sabbath" or revel. 
These witches, fairies, good and evil spirits, were supposed to be able to foretell the future, so it was natural that on this night of spirits, games of fortune telling should become a part of Hallowe'en.
Nuts and apples were used ih these games, hence our bobbing for apples in a tub of water. On the apple, if you succeed in getting one, will be name of your future husband or wife!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Origins

Excepts taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, pulished on November 4, 1954 in The Collinsville News.  

"Tricks or Treat!" When you hear that demand at your doorstep on Hallow'en, and a troop of small goblins, ghosts, and lively skeletons wait in the misty autumn night, you are listening to a challenge believed to have first been made more than 2,000 years ago.
It originated in good old Ireland, the same country that gave us St. Patrick's day. Not generally known is the fact that Halloween, especially in its prankish and mischief-making ways, was first brought to America by Irish immigrants over a century ago.
A frosty fall night when ghosts are abroad in the land, when strange things happen, when jacko'-lanterns grin down on apple-ducking parties, Hallowe'en dates back to the mysterious primitive
time of the sun-worshiping-Druids.
Long, long ago on the night of October 31, the Druid medicine men lighted great bonfires which reflected in the night sky over mist-covered hills and valleys of Ireland. As Ireland was the last strong
hold of Druid priests, who practiced their ceremonies in the oak forests of the countryside, it was there that the bonfires burned brightest on the Day of the Dead, a festival associated with the dying of the summer season.
Those bonfires served several purposes. They paid tribute to the spirit who, on October 31, sent souls of many of the dead into a Druid heaven. They honored the all powerful Sun-God who was now being thanked for a bountiful autumn harvest, and they also helped to drive off evil spirits that might be abroad. . . . .

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fair Time

Except taken from "Just Thoughts of a Plain Country Woman" by Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, September 12, 1948 in The Collinsville News.

"There is an atmosphere of romance surrounding fairs, for they, like the Fourth of July, revive memories of family gatherings; whether the fair is one of today's modern affairs where everyone arrives in a motor vehicle, or one of by-gone days when whole families, cramped from the long ride since sun-up, clambered out,
over the wagon wheels, from the straw packed wagon bed, the interests center about the same exhibitions;
men, naturally gravitate to the sheds and tents where new fangled models of brightly painted implements stand; the women gather around the results of their prowess with cooking, canning, baking equipment to compare and judge for themselves why this pan of
rolls received the coveted ribbon instead of that one, or why one can of pickles was given a higher award than another. 
Another section in the hall of arts that interests women is the rainbow display of needlework from their nimble fingers."

Note:  Wouldn't Mrs. Morrow have been overwhelmed - and probably very impressed - with the thousands that attend the hugely popular State Fairs of today?  Designed to be much more than local competitions, they are a place to inform and amaze consumers about new products and services.  And, of course, the massive amusement rides are complemented by decadent foods only to be found and consumed at the "State Fair."