Posted on October 6, 2010 by adultreference
Halloween has its roots in the Christian holiday of All Saint’s Day and the Celtic festival of Samhaim. All Saint’s Day once called Old Hallows or Hallomass is celebrated on November 1. As the name states, it is a day to commemorate all those who have achieved Sainthood in Heaven. Samhaim is a celebration of summer’s end. The ancient Celts believed the border between this world and the “other world” becomes thin at this time of year allowing spirits to pass into our world. They believed in order to ward off these spirits, they would have to wear masks to disguise themselves. The actual word Halloween shows up in Scotland during the 16th century as a variant of All- Hallows-Even, the night before All Hallows Eve.
The famous Jack-o-Lantern got its start as the practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips. In Celtic festivals, the turnips were carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. We use pumpkins here in the North America because they are plentiful and easier to carve then turnips!
Trick or Treating, the practice of dressing up in costume and going door to door begging for treats (or else!) dates back to the Middle Ages, when poor people would go door to door on Hallowmas, getting for in return for prayers for the dead. Trick or Treating as we know it, didn’t make any type of official presence in the US until 1934.
All of this celebrating and/or fearing of the dead, wearing costumes, begging for food eventually found its way to our modern Halloween celebration. If you want to read some more on the history and traditions of Halloween there are some great websites to visit:
The History of Halloween
Filed under: History, Holidays, Supernatural, Uncategorized | Tagged: All Saint's Day, Celts, Costumes, Halloween, Holidays, Trick or Treating | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2010 by adultreference
When a friend of my husband’s recommended he see the HBO miniseries “John Adams“, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. A seven part miniseries? About a President I didn’t know too much about (let’s face it Washington and Jefferson get all the publicity!)? Regardless, I borrowed the mini-series from the Fountaindale Library. “John Adams” is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name by David McCullough, about one of our founding fathers and 2nd president, and stars Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams.
I was intrigued from the start. When I was younger, I was really interested in the American Revolution so it was neat to see the stories I had read unfold before my eyes… the Boston Massacre… Crispus Attucks… I found myself really getting drawn into it. I was so thrilled to see Benjamin Franklin, played to perfection by Tom Wilkinson, over the top but shrewd. George Washington, played by David Morse, stoic, calm and overwhelmed in his role as president. And finally Thomas Jefferson, played by Stephen Dillane, a man who is described as soft spoken but with a gift of writing that was unsurpassed. Then there are, John Adams, and his beloved wife and partner, Abigail Adams. Both actors were so good in their roles. Adams is portrayed as both a leader, sometimes the coolest head in the room, but still with much to learn as he goes along. He isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but he stands for what he believes in. Abigail is shown for the strong and devoted woman she was. The two have a real partnership. Adams often consults with her and she is not afraid to give her opinion.
Along the way, I discovered that I never gave it a thought that the 13 colonies were essentially 13 “countries”…. what guts and bravado it took for these men to get passed their differences, joing together, to rebel against the Crown and establish a new country. It was really moving. The DVD also has a feature where you can get an onscreen historical guide for each episode as they unfold.
Filed under: History, Movies, Television | Tagged: Historical Drama, John Adams, Revolutionary War | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 3, 2010 by adultreference
Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) is often confused with Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is actually a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army’s surprising win over French Forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. In Mexico the day is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla, but in the US it has become the date to celebrate Mexican culture, heritage and food! So “Celebra el Cinco de Mayo”!
The Fountaindale Public library has materials available on Cinco de Mayo, including a History Channel DVD on the Battle of Puebla.
Filed under: History | Tagged: Battles, Celebrations, Holidays, Mexico | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 4, 2010 by adultreference
Every March 17th, we eat corn beef and cabbage, we dye the Chicago River green, we even dye our beer green…for one day we are Irish. St. Patricks Day! We have all heard of St. Patrick and the legend of him driving the snakes out of Ireland, but who was he? St. Patrick (Patricus in Latin), 387-493, was Roman-British and Christian missionary and most widely known patron saint of Ireland. When Patrick was 14, he was captured from Britain by Irish raiders and taken into slavery in Ireland, were he lived for 6 years before escaping and returning home. After he entered the Church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop. In his writings, he wrote that he baptized thousands of people and ordained many priest. The road wasn’t always easy; he faced hostilities as a foreigner and was once beaten, robbed and nearly executed!
So did he drive the snakes out of Ireland? Evidence suggests that Ireland didn’t have snakes, so many think that “snakes” referred to the Druids of that time or it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolized as serpents. Legend also credits him with teaching the Irish the concept of the Trinity by showing them the Shamrock, a 3 leaf clover. Though, there are no snakes in Ireland. Mmmm??
March 17th is believed to be the day he died and is celebrated as his feast day in the Catholic Church. He is also venerated by the Orthodox Church with icons dedicated to him. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday in Ireland. His day is celebrated more and more by people of other ethnicities such as Argentina! The saying “wearing of the green” means to wear a shamrock on ones clothing, which eventually became green clothing (and green beer???).
Filed under: History, Trivia | Tagged: Holidays, Ireland, Sainsts | Leave a Comment »