Blessed Samhain to you all!
|Halloween Cat by Jeremiah Morelli|
Halloween is my favorite holiday (pretty sure I've said that a few times on this blog...)
I like the history and mythology of it, I like the modern traditions of dressing up and trick-or-treating and watching scary movies, and I love that our modern traditions are based on long-established celebrations of Samhain, the death of the sun/summer, and the final harvest.
I'm an archaeologist, so of course I'm interested in why we carve jack-o-lanterns and why we think ghosts can walk the earth on this night. I especially like looking at the holidays we celebrate now and trying to find their analogy in other cultures, or seeing where their roots developed - such as Christianity taking over formerly pagan holidays. And I like the pagan roots of holidays, seated in nature, more than anything found in modern religions. The death and rebirth of the sun, Yule being halfway through the darkness, the associations with the solstices and equinoxes and moon phases.
As a little kid, I was always checking out books of ghost stories or books on Halloween during my library time at school. This soon turned into a love of scary movies, once I was old enough to convince my mom to rent them. And wearing costumes is something I love all year, so socially sanctioned dressing up at Halloween was one of the best parts of the holiday! (Because once you reach a certain age, wearing a super hero cape or princess dress to the grocery store gets you weird looks.)
In college I never got to do the Halloween thing at the bars with my friends - I was underage until my senior year. But during grad school there have been parties, and zombie themed bar crawls, and other fun activities! And now that I am nearer to NYC, I want to visit Sleepy Hollow for their annual Halloween celebrations. Maybe next year...
My favorite thing to do, though, is to stay in on Halloween night. I light a bunch of candles, make some tasty food, get some red wine or good seasonal beer, and I watch scary movies. Some years I participate in trick-or-treat, now that we have a house (I didn't when I lived in an apartment). I like trying to feel the magic of the night.
Tonight I will be making the pork tenderloin recipe from the Outlander Kitchen blog, with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I have Great Lakes' Nosferatu, our homemade imperial pale ale, Woodchuck hard cider, and a bottle of red wine that I will warm with spices. There are pumpkin tarts for afters. My jack-o-lanterns are in the windows and ready to keep the evil spirits away. And I have a DVR full of scary movies to watch!