Let the haunting begin!

pc-Halloween.tif

October 31, 2012

Halloween traces its origins to the ancient Celtic holiday “Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in”), celebrating the end of the traditional summer growing season on Oct. 31. 

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. This day marked the beginning of the dark, cold winter – a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of Samhain, Oct. 31, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. One story says that on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. 

The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during Samhain time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. Naturally, the living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of Oct. 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess. 

The custom of carving gourds on Halloween also traces its roots to Ireland and an old Irish tale about a man named Jack who was a noted trickster and drunkard. According to Irish lore, Jack tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of the cross into the tree’s trunk, thus trapping Satan up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that if he never tempted him again, Jack would let him out of the tree. After Jack died, however, he was denied access to heaven because of his evil ways. Hell had no welcome mat out for Jack either because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave Jack a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer. 

Upon arriving in America, Europeans discovered gourds (pumpkins) were more plentiful than turnips, so the custom of hollowing out pumpkins to make “Jack’s Lanterns” was thus Americanized.

Comments are closed.

  • As KC grew, so grew the City Market

    April 21st, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Building the imposing new City Hall at Fifth and Main Streets required the installation of roughly 60 circular caissons, five feet across, to support the massive structure.


    Fairyland lives on in photo postcard

    April 14th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This week’s postcard shows the view of Fairyland Park from the top of the roller coaster in the 1930s.


    History remains bridge to the past

    April 7th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News In 1950, there were only two bridges that spanned the Missouri River to the north, offering access to downtown Kansas City.
    The old Hannibal Bridge, originally constructed in 1917,


    Main Street Theater history lives on

    March 31st, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The marquee on the Max Bernstein postcard of the Main Street Theater shows the vaudeville team of Williams and Wolfus playing, as well as Lydia Barry.
    “Williams and Wolfus”


    Fort Osage serves both past and present

    March 24th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This week’s postcard is an early Chrome-type postcard published by James Tetrick of Kansas City showing historic Fort Osage near Sibley.


  • The original Kansas City Hummer vehicle

    March 17th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News When you think of a Hummer these days, the first thing to probably come to mind is the monstrous SUV that began its life as a utility vehicle


    Greetings from Saint Patrick

    March 10th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Postcards such as this have long been used to convey greetings conveniently to friends and relatives afar.


    The White Company delivers innovation through history

    March 4th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Our standard has always been to build a car able to surmount any road conditions which might be encountered.


    Postcard shows business as usual in 1909

    February 18th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Risqué postcards, like the one shown here, have been around for as long as postcards themselves.
    Prior to the advent of postcards as a private communication medium, those looking


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    February 11th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain Railway, the promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as described by the caption: “Along the Missouri River for more than 100 miles


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Early morning fire at original Gates Bar B.Q., restaurant expects to be open today

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News April 24, 2015 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — An early morning fire won’t stop Gates Bar B. […]

    Police release photos, video of person of interest in Scarritt burglaries

    Kansas City Police Detectives yesterday released a photo and a video of a person of interest in the string of burglaries that has plagued the North Gladstone Boulevard corridor area over

    Trinity Affordable Housing purchases apartments

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A recent meeting has neighborhood residents cautiously optimistic about the future of a Northeast apartment complex. Northeast residents gathered in the office of