Author Lesley Bannatine made an appearance at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where she talked about her newest book, Halloween Nation and discussed Halloween in general. I like to think I know a lot about my favorite holiday, its origins, its history, its traditions, but Lesley has so much information and insight into Halloween I was able to add a lot more fun facts to my Halloween library.
Many of you already know that Halloween stems from Samhain, All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day. I used to think that Halloween was simply another name for Samhain, but it's more of a mixture of the three that combines traditions and is further compounded by name similarities. "What's important to the history of Halloween is that there was a supernatural element to Samhain." Lesley points out. During All Soul's Day, the church encouraged people to pray for their loved ones. The harder you prayed and the more money you gave the more likely your dearly departed would get into heaven. Maybe they would also give you information in a dream if you helped them this way. (A form of fortunetelling.)
Halloween was brought to the United States by immigrants, but more as folklore and tradition than a holiday. The Halloween we are familiar with now came about because of a "perfect storm."
1) The Civil War. So many people went missing during that time, their loved ones were desperate to know and to communicate. Halloween was a perfect time to do that.
2) Cheap printing. Magazines and newspapers were being produced in droves. There were "Ladies Magazines," just as there are today, that featured Halloween and gave tips for hosting parties, costumes and games. It's funny how many adults will say that Halloween is "for kids" because in Victorian times, it was an adult holiday. Over time it morphed into something for children.
~I am giving away one (1) signed copy of Halloween Nation and one (1) signed copy of A Halloween Reader to one (1) winner. You can view my thoughts Halloween Nation HERE.
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