Well there's only 20 days to go until Halloween, or what's formerly known as "All Hallows Eve." Halloween has also become a favorite of doll makers and crafters because there are so many different types of dolls, doll patterns and crafts that you can make for this one holiday. Ghosts, goblins, and witches. Oh my! Frankensteins, Dracula, and vampires. Oh,my! Bats, pumpkins, and skulls. Oh my! Skeletons, monsters, and witches brew. Oh,my! Candy corn, costumes, and haunted houses. Oh my! What a wondrous holiday for crafting.
But, where did this and why did this all start? The answer lies in the true origins of Halloween and the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. November 1st for the Celts marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. So the night before the new year the Celts celebrated the Festival of Samhain, who was the Lord of the Dead. The Celts believed that during this festival the souls of the dead (including ghosts, goblins, and witches, oh my!) returned to mingle with the living.
In the Druidic, religion of the ancient Celts, the Druids would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops, animals and sometimes humans, as they danced around the fires. The season of the sun would pass and the season of darkness would begin, oh my! On the morning of November 1st, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. The fires were intended to keep the homes warm and free of evil spirits such as banshees, oh my! It was believed that at this time of the year invisible "gates" would open between the real world and the spirit world, oh my! Movement between both worlds was possible, oh my!
In order to scare away the evil spirits the Celts would wear masks and the children would wear costumes. Halloween costumes have traditionally been monsters such as vampires, ghosts, witches, and devils, oh my! Why? In 19Th century Scotland and Ireland the reason the children wore such fearsome costumes was the belief that since the spirits of the dead were intent on doing harm that night, the best way to avoid this was to fool the dead spirits into thinking you were one of them. Monsters, vampires, and skeletons, oh my!
So, we know the reason for the costumes. Why carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns? Scary faces on pumpkins to boot, oh my! Why do we put candles in them and set them on the porch, oh my? This tradition is also derived from ancient celebrations and actually began with a turnip. The Celts would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered that the pumpkin was a much larger substitute for the turnip. If it's larger, it's scarier. If it's scarier it will ward off evil spirits.
But, why are they called jack-o-lanterns? It all started with an Irishman (of course) named Jack who was forced to roam the earth with just a burning coal inside his pumpkin to light the way for him. He had to roam the earth forever because he had never performed a single selfless act his whole life, oh my!
But, why the door-to-door trick-or-treating you ask? Once, again we go back to Ireland where there was a custom of farmers going door-to-door to collect food and materials for the Festival of Samhain and the bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who didn't received bad luck, oh my! When the Irish immigrants came to America the door-to-door trick-or-treating came with them and thus the traditions began.
So, once again crafters and doll makers have tradition and folklore to credit for a slew of wondrous crafts and dolls to make for Halloween, oh my! It's one of my favorite times of the year and I have made many, many of all these different figures over the years and have designed several witches, ghosts, and Frankenstein's.
So, enjoy the trick-or-treating, but don't forget that evil spirits are roaming about on "All Hallows Eve." You might see ghosts, goblins, and witches. Oh my! Frankensteins, Dracula, and vampires. Oh my! Bats, pumpkins, and skulls. Oh my! Skeletons, monsters, and witches brew. Oh my! Candy corn, costumes, and haunted houses. Oh my! What a wondrous day to be alive!
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