Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2012

Halloween Superstitions and Traditions

It's Halloween again, so let's have a look at some superstitions and traditions:

First of all: Use the magic of this night to say goodbye to a bad habit or addiction, an old relationship or anything else negative in your life - Samhain is the night to leave it all behind and start-a-new.

  • If you catch a falling leaf on Halloween before it touches the ground, it will bring you good luck and health for the coming winter. --> Seeing myself running around the garden shaking trees and trying to catch leaves. I hope, my neighbours are not going to watch.
  • On the morning of November 1st, throw a silver coin through the front door of your house. The coin has to remain where it has fallen in order to bring financial luck. --> Do Euros and Cents count aswell?
  • Peel an apple on Halloween and try to keep the peel in one piece, then throw it over your shoulder - you will discover the initials of a future lover. --> I am not so keen on apples and there is none in the house :-/
  • By candlelight go alone to a mirror and eat an apple before it, whilst combing your hair. Your future love will be seen in the glass over your shoulder. If you will die without being married, a skull will appear in the mirror. --> Oh great, I guess I will leave that one out aswell then...
  • And more apples: The first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using their hands would be the first to marry. If the bobber lucked out and caught an apple on the first try, it meant that they would experience true love, while those who got an apple after many tries would be fickle in their romantic endeavors. Another myth is that if a girl put her bobbed apple under her pillow on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. --> once more: I don't like apples!!
  • To ward off evil on Halloween you should walk around your home three times clockwise and three times counterclockwise. --> Which means I actually have to walk around half of the village as it is not possible to walk around my house. Ach well, nice walk.
  • To see a spider on Halloween means it is a relative returning from the dead to check on you. --> And what does it mean, when I take the hoover to get rid off that spider?
  • If a bat flies around your house on Halloween it is a death omen. If a bat flies into your house, it means that your house is haunted because only ghost could have let it in. --> Damnit, I have a pet-bat.
  • Single girls should scatter hempseed in a field on Halloween night and they will dream of their future husband. --> Ah,... well, I am not going to ask.
  • Light a candle to remember your departed loved ones on Halloween night. If the flame of a candle goes out on Halloween then you are in the company of a ghost. When the candle flame flickers on Halloween night it is being touched by the spirits of dead ancestors. --> What if there's a draft in the house?
  • Lock your cats up on Halloween as a Clurichaun (something like a very bad elf/fairy/Leprechaun) could travel on your cats back into your home and create havoc. --> Some cats don't need Clurichauns to create havoc.
  • To see a black cat on Halloween is very good luck for the next year. To see a white cat on Halloween is very bad luck for the next year. --> So, let out the black cats (risking the fact that elfs come back with them) and lock up your white cats in the cellar. But what do you do with a white cat with black dots? (Btw. this only applies to Ireland, Scotland and England as black cats there are not bad luck)
  • Ring a bell (not a doorbell) which would ward off evil spirits for the entire year. --> Do ringtones count aswell?
  • If you see an owl diving then he/she is coming to take your soul away. --> Since when do owls dive? I thought they were flying...

Why do people carve pumpkins on Halloween?
Celtic folklore tells the tale of a drunken farmer named Jack who tricked the devil, but his trickery resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell after he died. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed him from hell.
Jack used the lantern to guide his lost soul. Placing Jack-o'-lanterns outside would help guide lost spirits home when they wander the streets on Halloween. When the Irish imigrated to America, turnips were replaced by pumpkins as they were easier to get.

Why treak or treat on Halloween?

During Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world was thinnest, and that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human form, such as a beggar, and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted.
Another Celtic myth was that dressing up as a ghoul would fool the evil spirits into thinking that you were one of them so that they would not try to take your soul.