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.

  • Upscale Baltimore Hotel hosted presidents

    20 hours ago
    by

    Northeast News Eccentric. That’s how many described noted turn-of-the-century Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss.


    Florida scene warms KC recipient’s winter

    February 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Originally sent to Miss Josephine Eakins of 3514 Forest Ave. in Kansas City on Feb.


    Airport transformed KC transportation

    January 27th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s Municipal Airport was once a swampy, 687-acre bog located in an ox-bow area along the great bend of the Missouri River.


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    January 20th, 2016
    by

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


    Hotel President still charms downtown Kansas City

    January 13th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News “The Hotel President located at 1329 Baltimore opened in January of 1926 is a magnificent fifteen-story structure incorporating therein all that is best in modern hotel construction.


  • Larrapin Lou and the Babe

    January 6th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News George Herman “Babe” Ruth and “Larrapin” Lou Gehrig played in a barnstorming game on Oct.


    Historic happy holidays

    December 30th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Happy New Year!
    Sent on Dec. 31, 1905, to Mrs. E. T. Van Winkle of Hornellsville, N.Y., this unusual New Year’s card bears a black-and-white photograph of angels in


    Holy Rosary crib tradition a holiday classic

    December 23rd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This real photo postcard of the Holy Rosary Church’s Christmas crib was taken during the 1941 holiday season.


    Beauty springs eternal on Historic Northeast’s Cliff Drive

    December 16th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Fountain and Cliff Drive, North Terrace Park, Kansas City Missouri.”
    So reads the description on this divided back, hand-colored postcard, published around 1910.


    KCK mayor creates fine architecture

    December 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The cornerstone for the Masonic Temple at 803 N. Seventh St. in Kansas City, Kan., was laid Nov.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Mardi Gras celebration

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Feb. 10, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Columbus Park’s Don Bosco Senior Center was the scene […]

    City to Speedy Cash – you’re done

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The wrecking ball has been spared once at the corner of Independence Boulevard and Prospect Avenue.

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]