01 November, 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween or Hallow E’en, as it is called in Ireland, means “All Hallows Eve” or the night before the “All Hallows” also called “All Hallowmas” or “All Saints” or “All Souls” Day.

In Old English, the word “Hallow” meant “to sanctify”.

The modern version of Halloween celebrations originated from the ancient Druidic fire festival called “Samhain” (which is pronounced as “sow-in”). Samhain was the beginning of winter or the Dark Half of the Year. Since the Celts started their day at sunset of the night before, Samhain came to be known as “The Evening of All Hallows”. Samhain was considered a very magical time when the dead walk amongst the living – a time when the veil between this world and the World of the Ancestors was drawn aside. The Celts believed that all laws of Space and Time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.

Jack-o-Lanterns

Many Irish immigrated to America in the 1800s during the Irish Potato Famine. They brought with them the traditions of Halloween. Traditionally, the lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beet and lit with a burning lump of coal or a candle. These lanterns represented the souls of the departed loved ones and were placed in windows or set on porches to welcome the deceased souls. Turnips were not available as readily in America and the pumpkin served as a replacement. The pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern has been an integral part of Halloween celebrations since the Victorian days and is now considered a universal symbol of Halloween.

Trick or Treat

The custom of Trick or Treating however, is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts but from an ancient European custom called “Souling”. On “All Souls Day”, people would walk from village to village, knocking on doors, asking for “soul cakes”. These were square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes they’d receive, the more prayers they’d promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At that time, it was believed that the soul remained in limbo for sometime after death and that prayers, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to heaven.

Halloween 2008

Most of the children in our apartment block were out Trick or Treating yesterday night. Lots and lots of children waiting for the lifts in the lobbies literally caused people to gasp in total shock. Imagine a solitary person in the life coming down to the lobby and the lift doors opening – only to be confronted by a mass of little people – all dressed up and raring to go Trick or Treating. There were princesses, there was a Spiderman, there was a Batman, there was a Superman, there were witches aplenty, there was an evil Rock Star with a balloon guitar, there was a little tiger cub, a little piggy, Jerry Mouse, Count Dracula ...... It was a sight to behold and the kids had loads of fun.
“Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat – Give us something good to eat” was a chant that was reverberating across many floors as the children zipped from house to house collecting their treats.

Taking one of the elevators yesterday reminded one of good old days – of travel in Bombay’s local trains. Absolutely jam packed, no space to move or budge and intermittent shouts of “hey get into the lift – come on guys move a bit – get into the life – there’s room”. Interspersed with bits of squeals from the littler ones in the elevator whilst on their way up or down were high pitched giggles to the accompaniment of “heeeyyyyyyy I’m getting all squished up”.

The security guards in our apartment complex exhibited a wide variety of reactions too. Some just stared helplessly as swarm after swam of little people swept into and out of the apartment blocks. Some guards were irritated at the sudden surge in human traffic, displacing the routine rhythm of the rather sedate traffic that they normally witness. Some guards were really irate and pretty soon realization must have dawned that protesting against a whole bunch of kids who were buzzing very high on sugar, was not going to get them anywhere except into trouble. For the most part, most of the security guards – be it within the apartment blocks or be it the guards doing their patrolling rounds – were plainly delighted to see the kids all costumed and possessing levels of excitement that was nothing else but infectious. Most of the guards were walking around with huge grins plastered on their faces and “oohing” and “aahing” at all the little swarms that were sweeping across the apartment complex.

The exhausted Trick or Treaters ended up in the local park for a little Halloween Party. Already high on sugar but thirsty, the first thing the kids did was gulp down glasses of Coca Cola, Sprite and Fanta. But the little bees were too tired to buzz around, despite the liquid sugar hitting those brain cells. Most of them were seen munching on goodies which included chips, French Fries, Chicken Wings, Sausages, Macaroni, Fried Rice, Batata Wadas, Patties and what have you.

Once the hunger pangs were sated, they were seen swinging around the place like a bunch of errr ... children .... before grabbing their Trick or Treat bags once again .... for, at the park, a whole big bag of goodies awaited them. :)

Here’s Halloween of 2008 in pictures


















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10 voice(s) said so:

gau said...

The kids seem to have had a terrific Halloween, namesake! And I can see whose effort & enthusiasm to attribute the credit to :) Nice work...and a wonderful write-up to go with it!

-g

Suma said...

wow!!! lovely pics and that was some haul of candy :D

aparna's makeup is awesome...

Mimi said...

awww nice... Spidey seems to be the hot fav.
I loved Appu in the witches costume!

Mystic Margarita said...

Wow! the kids look great in costumes? Did you do Aparna's make-up? It's great! Love the little Spidey, too!

Preethi said...

What a loot :) looks like a great halloween.. Cheeky was Spidey too btw!!

Preethi said...

And hey Aparna's costume is lovely.. the face makeup rocks!! did you do it?

Priyanka said...

WOW ! They both look great! Esp our daughter, awesome makeup.

Priyanka said...

Sorry, thats *your daughter - Aparna :)

Mama - Mia said...

super super stuff!! i so love your festival posts!! i get to know why, how and what of everything!

and follow it up with adorable pics!! you are just too good Gauri!!

i could just feel all the excitment while reading the post!

in a strange sorta way it reminded me of going around in building saying Tilgul Ghya God God bola" and most people would give candy apart from tilgul on Makarsakranti day! :)

cheers!

abha

Keshi said...

awwwwww...:)

I bought a Spiderman suit for my 4yr old nephew...he put it on and wudnt stop jumping around like a frog. I asked him why he was doing that...and he told me:

"Keshi aunty dun u know thats how Spiderman jumps from the buildings"


lol!

Keshi.