Fire burn and cauldron bubble…
All Hallows Eve has descended upon us once again. The pumpkin has been carved, the candy bowls filled, and we now just have to sit and wait for the onslaught of trick or treating to begin.
Naturally my father believes that the word Halloween orginates from the Greek word Helios which means sun. Apparently the word Hallows has links to Halo and Holy which is connected to the idea of a circle, and the sun is shaped like a circle, so there you go. GREEK.
In actual fact, Halloween is related to the Christian holy day of All Saints’ Day which is a time for honouring the saints and praying for those recently departed. Though the origin of the word is Christian, the holiday itself is thought to have pagan roots and is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for summers end.
Samhain was seen as a time when the door to the Otherworld opened, and souls would re-visit their old homes where they would be invited to dine. (Perhaps this is why my Greek grandmother feels the need to always cook so much food – the door must be constantly open.)
Unfortunately bad spirits would also come through the door, and thus people wore costumes to disguise themselves. Clever no?
Personally I love Halloween. Any opportunity to scare the living daylights out of the neighbours’ children can’t be a bad thing.
My brother, sister and I take great delight in decorating the house (as well as ourselves) with Halloween paraphernalia and blaring our eclectic selection of spooky music out of the window.
My father considers Halloween to be a convenient time to teach anyone who comes to the door about our Greek heritage, whilst my mother insists that any visitors should get some REALLY good treats so they will often receive a slice of sweet baklava with their chocolate spider.
This year it looks like it might be left-over mousakka.
All completely normal of course.
So whether or not you are a fan of Halloween, spare a thought for those poor children who will find themselves in a Greek nightmare tonight.