The Gaelic festival called "Samhain" was celebrated on October 31st. It was believed that on this day, the boundaries between the living and the dead overlapped. Masks and costumes were worn to appease the spirits and gourds cut into frightening faces. Doesn't sound like it was a fun evening - more of a "let's get through this alive" kind of evening where people feared for their lives. But then St. Patrick changed things a little bit, according to legend. He wanted Christians to celebrate the saints who have gone before us - not to fear them or fear death. Apparently, St. Patrick started going door to door, spreading good cheer by giving out small cakes and sweets.
So when did it turn from being about the giving of sweets to the getting? I guess for a while, when trick-or-treating for candy became more popular, many looked down on the practice. I love this little tidbit: in 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner protesting Hallowe'en that said "American Boys Don't Beg."
Well, we've come a long way, boys. There's a big part of me that likes Hallowe'en - it's mostly fun and candy hangovers and creative costumes. I'm not a huge fan of the gore and scary stuff and neither are my girls. Last night, we went around our neighbourhood looking for "happy houses" to approach for candy.
|me and Raggedy Ann|
I'm happy to see the high school pick up on something that church youth groups have been doing for awhile: trick or eat, where they go around to people's homes to pick up items for the local food bank. I hope that this continues to catch on - for the young trick or treaters too - so people will not only stock up on sweets for October 31st, but also cans and boxes and food for those who really need it.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. - Maya Angelou