Halloween has become quite popular here in Germany in recent years. We had a record 17 trick-or-treaters at our house in Germany this evening.
"Trick or Treat" is called "Süsses oder Saures" (Sweet or Sour) in German, i.e. "sweets or else".
When I was in my youth in the USA, my father used to give each trick-or-treater a Hershey bar - after having each visitor show his tricks first, of course. We carry on this tradition here on the Moselle River by giving each trick-or-treater a large chocolate bar. Some of the visitors had Halloween costumes on, quite like those worn in the USA this eve.
The Great Lawpundit Pumpkin 2007 that you see pictured above measures about a half-a-meter across and is a real giant, the largest we have ever had.
The pumpkin mass that remained after our carving served as our meal this eve. We had pumpkin soup, in which the ingredients were mashed pumpkin, cream, milk, water, vegetable broth, ginger, salt and pepper. It was delicious.
We spread the pumpkin seeds on newspaper to dry out and will plant them early next year in egg shell halves filled with earth, where the seed can germinate before it is taken outside and planted in our garden.
It is rather remarkable to read that some religious and political figures and groups oppose the fun that is Halloween, among them:
- the American religious right wing
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
- Moscow schools in Russia
- Muslims, orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians
- Wiccan (Witch) religions
Did we hear something about birds of a feather flocking together?
You are known by the company you keep.
In fact, Halloween predates all of those religious and political groups and religions, and can be traced back to ancient practices of our forefathers:
"Halloween (Allhallows Even) was observed by some churches with religious services. However, most persons regarded it as a secular festival. In its strictly religious aspect, it is known as the vigil of Hallowmas or All Saints' Day, observed on November 1 by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
The festival of Halloween is based on a combination of the Christian commemoration of the departed faithful (All Saints' Day) with the pre-Christian Celtic feast associated with a celebration of the end of summer and the Celtic New Year. Celts who lived in what is now known as Ireland, Scotland and parts of Great Britain celebrated their new year that began November 1. Allhallows' Even was observed on the evening of October 31st. Around 800 A.D., the day became known among Christians as Allhallomas which eventually changed to All Hallow E'en, or Halloween.
Celtic peoples adopted Christianity quickly, easily, and strongly. The conversion of Celtic peoples did not, however, keep them from celebrating some of their old customs. Attempts to replace the year-end custom in the old Celtic calendar were only partially successful. Some of our Halloween traditions date back to these early times.
Summer's end and the celebration of a good harvest has always been an important event in the life of agrarian peoples. Samhain "Hallowday" or Samfuin (sam + fuin) summer's end, marked the end of the yearly cycle and was celebrated with both religious and agrarian rites. It was the period for threshing and of food preparation for the winter season. On that evening, so it was believed, present, past, and future became one. Celts gave thanks for the safe return of their cattle to winter quarters, and invoked their gods for prosperity and good crops for the coming year.
Samhain was both the "end of summer" and a commemoration of the dead. The spirits of the departed were believed to visit their kinsmen in search of warmth and good cheer as winter approached. It was a time when evil, as well as good, spirits returned to the living. Fairies were believed to migrate from one home to another, and Hallowe'en was the time when humans kidnapped by elfin folk could reclaim their lost loves or relatives.Jack-O'-Lanterns were scooped out of turnips with skull-like faces carved into them. This may reflect the ancient custom of placing skulls around the tribal fire to keep evil demons away. "
Note well the people who are against Halloween. You will most likely see the faces of religious and political tyrants trying to impose their particular superstitions ON YOU. These are the evil demons that OUR pumpkin turns away.
Enjoy a blessed Halloween, wherever you are.