Did you know the origin of Halloween comes from ancient Ireland? Ireland is also one of the biggest per-capita consumers of tea in the world [four cups per day per person with many who drink six cups or more]. Please join me in a cup of tea as we go on a Halloween journey together!
In ancient times, Celtic farmers believed there was one day a year where the season of life met the season of death, and spirits rose from their graves to walk amongst the living. That day was called Samhain, the Celtic word for summers end.
On a day when so many spirits lurked, Druid priests tried to foretell whether their villages would survive the winter. The Celts lit great bonfires and disguised themselves to confuse the spirits. In the 8th century, an attempt was made to distract the Celts from their pagan practice when Pope Gregory III established All Hallows Day - a day honoring all saints, known and unknown on November 1st. Europeans accepted the new holiday, but saw no reason to cease enjoyment of their traditional rituals as well. Soon Samhain became known as All Hallows Eve, which evolved into modern day Halloween.
The pagan tradition was of no interest to America's first Puritans and the custom was left behind in Europe. When the mid-nineteenth century potato famine drove over a million starving Irish to America, the immigrants brought their traditions and folklore with them. The roaring bonfires shrank to lanterns carved from turnips and gourds - the first jack-o-lanterns - while the Celtic disguises became the costumes of modern day Halloween.
Despite Halloween's ancient pagan origins, our family looks past what was, to what is, and enjoys a fun-filled evening together, as you can see by the family Halloween photos below. Grab your teacup, and have a look...
This is my brother and me when I was three years old and he was eight.
Jeremy [our youngest] as "The Jolly Green Giant" - two years old.
"Gold Crayola Crayon" - three years old.
A Cowboy at four years old.
And a Clown at eight years old.
Now fast forward 19 years. He's all grown up, married, and a father himself! The photo below is with his wife, Samantha and their first-born daughter, Isabella, a cute little lady bug.
She's just Ducky in 2007!
A Fairy Princess in 2008
In 2009 she was Toy Story Jessie, and her baby brother, Landon, was a little giraffe!
Jeremy, Landon the Pirate, and Izzy - 2010
Jeremy, Landon [Spiderman], and Izzy [Super Girl] 2011
My daughter's three children - Brandon, Old McDonald; Tiffany, Rapunzel; and Marissa, a sunflower. [They're now 23, 21, and 17 years old!]
Brandon a Combat Soldier; Tiffany, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz; and Marissa, Raggedy Ann.
Our middle son, Steve, with his wife, Sharon, and their daughter, Brianna as Madeline, and baby Brooke is a sweet little pumpkin! [Nana and Papa got in the picture too!]
Marissa, Tiffany and Brianna [one cute Banana!] 2011
Our son, Steve [below], started a tradition when he moved into his home nine years ago. He hosts a neighborhood "open garage" every year with donuts, hot chocolate and hot cider for all the trick-or-treaters, and coffee for their parents. When it's cold outside they really appreciate stepping inside his garage, or warming their hands from his portable fire pit just outside the garage. The neighbors look forward to it every year, and all our family congregates there too.
Jerry [my hubby] manning the Krispy Kreme Doughnut table!