“Autumnal rites are among the oldest celebrated on earth … occurring at the year’s end, after the last harvests, when the barren earth is thought to give passage to the souls lying beneath it.”-Marguerite Yourcenar, writer
Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Evening, Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve – by any other name, Halloween is a global celebration that takes place every year on October 31, the eve of the western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. For many, Halloween is the favorite holiday of the year, with all of the trick-or-treating, costume partying, black and orange decorating, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, telling scary stories, watching horror films, playing pranks, jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, and general ghost and goblin mayhem. Where do all of these traditions come from? In preparation for All Hallows’ Day, participants in the festival of Halloween are charged with defying death’s power with laughter or ridicule, or both.
What’s All Hallows’ Day, You Ask?
Also known as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, All Hallows’ Day begins the religious observance of Allhallowtide, three days dedicated to honoring all the saints (also known as “hallows”), martyrs and faithful believers who have departed the living world. In other words, remembering the dead.
All over the world, the living observe All Hallows’ Eve by attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, in addition to grabbing death by the funny bone. Along with vast amounts of candy treats, practitioners can also observe the Allhallowtide vegetarian tradition of eating apples, colcannon (cabbage), cider, potato pancakes and “soul cakes,” little cakes filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and other sweet spices, raisins or currants, topped with the mark of a cross. Yum!
More Mayhem for the Harvest
All sorts of storied traditions are associated with Halloween, including frightening evil spirits with witches, skeletons, cobwebs, lighted jack-o-lanterns and the sign of the cross. In many parts of the world, Halloween is connected to the fall harvest; it’s where the American tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween comes from, in the mid-to-late 19th century, as well as corn husks and scarecrows. Add to this the horrific imagery of skulls, headstones, boogiemen, mythical monsters and the walking dead (aka zombies), and you’ve got yourself quite the rockin’ Halloween death dare!
Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos
Celebrated throughout Mexico and popular in the United States, Día de los Muertos is also a holiday that focuses on family gatherings to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, with the additional goal of supporting their spiritual journey. Once a day set aside in the summer, Día de los Muertos is now celebrated from October 31 to November 2. Seven years ago, the tradition became part of UNESCO’s “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” (For instance, the Tango is listed for Argentina and Uruguay).
Día de los Muertos is also known by others names like Día de los Difuntos, Dia de Finados (Brazil), Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) and Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels), and is rich with traditions and symbols such as private altars called ofrendas, sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, visiting cemeteries and leaving possessions on gravesites. Its origins date back to the Aztecs.
Our stainless steel flask makes a special spooky treat. Made from durable, solid steel, each flask holds six ounces of liquid 6 oz. of liquid and can be custom engraved with a name or message, a photo, logo, or clip art. Add on a funnel for easy use.