I made it! Today is my last day at my old job! Longest two-week notice ever! Sadly, that means it’s also my last regular three-day weekend, but the trade-off will be worth it in the long run. I’m pretty excited about getting some projects done this weekend and getting organized for something new!
Are you ready for the local kids to come knocking on your door tonight? We haven’t had kids come around for a few years, so I doubt they will tonight either, but we do have a bag of candy, just in case. I’m fairly certain that the best way to make sure we have kids come to the door is NOT to have candy, at which point we’d be reduced to tossing canned beans into their bags, which would likely result in some unhappy little ghosts and goblins.
Verse of the Day
October 31, 2019
The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Thoughts on Today’s Verse
The Bible repeatedly reminds us that we are in a spiritual war with forces that are strong, malicious, and evil (Ephesians 6:10-12). We should steer clear of every appearance of evil. We shouldn’t involve ourselves in anything related to Satan and his work. But we also need to remember that our Lord is greater than Satan and all of his evil angels. He is faithful. He will not abandon us to our enemy. He will strengthen us and protect us from attack if we will let him!
Beggars’ Night – Now, this is interesting. There are some places, mostly Ohio, parts of Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and western New York who celebrate Beggar’s Night. Basically, kids make the rounds of homes for candy, focusing on the treat part of the holiday, without the tricks, and they go the night BEFORE Halloween so the smaller kids can avoid any mischief or problems caused by older kids who are definitely more into the tricks. Some areas the kids tell a joke to the person who answers the door, to earn their candy. Apparently, the grown-ups really look forward to all the jokes and riddles every year, happily giving out candy the kids in exchange for a good laugh. Some local towns try to rigidly schedule Beggar’s Night and Halloween so that they don’t land on a weekend. I’m really not sure why, but that’s what I read. I would think that the years when we are fortunate enough for these days to land on the weekend would be good! The kids wouldn’t risk being out too late on a school night. Regardless, I think jokes in exchange for candy is an awesome idea, and I have to wonder why this never took hold on the west coast. What confuses me is why is this one listed today instead of yesterday?
Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain – I grew up celebrating Halloween, all the way through high school actually. Right about the time my kids were born there was a lot of controversy about Halloween and people who attended church were discouraged from celebrating it, with the emphasis put on Harvest Celebrations instead. While I understand the reasoning behind it, I don’t feel that I suffered from celebrating Halloween growing up. I actually have some pretty wonderful and happy memories surrounding Halloween and feel bad for depriving my kids of a few years of absolute fun. I can’t change the past and know that my kids didn’t suffer for lack of fun . . . they just had different fun. So, what exactly IS Halloween? For the purposes of modern times, it is a day to dress up in costume, hand out candy and try to frighten each other and ourselves with spooky stories. Like many holidays that we celebrate though, that is not how it started out. Halloween’s origins have a history that started many centuries ago. The ancient Celts, who lived in the area that is now Ireland, Great Britain and Northern France celebrated November 1st as their New Year. This time of year was the beginning of winter and colder, darker days, and was more associated with death than any other time of year. The Celts believed that it was at this time that the souls of the dead traveled into the other world. They also believed that the dead were more likely to be moving among the living this time of year. To help the dead along their journey and keep the living from being affected by those of the dead who were evil, the Celts held a festival called Samhain. During Samhain they would sacrifice animals, vegetables and fruits to the dead, and light bonfires in their honor. They also wore costumes of animal skins and heads and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the Celts were conquered by the Roman Empire, the influence of Christianity began to intermingle with the Celtic rituals and beliefs. Christian missionaries and church officials declared the festival of Samhain to be evil and looked for ways to make the festival Christian oriented. Making pagan holidays Christian made it easier for the conversion of those who were pagan. In the 7th century, Pop Boniface IV proclaimed November 1st as “All Saints Day”, or All Hallows”. From this came the name Halloween. In Christian traditions, the “Hallow” in “Halloween” came to represent saints that are revered as holy. The day involved a feast celebrating all saints and martyrs. Now THAT part I knew. But what I didn’t know was that Christians who followed All Souls Day practices commonly used what were called Soul Cakes. These cakes were given to people who were poor, so they would offer up prayers for the deceased. This tradition goes back to the ancient pagan practices where foods would be left out for the dead to either feed “hungry ghosts” or to honor the dead who returned to visit their dead relatives. In addition to all of this, poor people would go “souling”, traveling door-to-door in wealthy neighborhoods to get soul cakes, alms and fruit. And THIS was the origins of our modern-day practice of trick-or-treating where kids dress up in costumes and go door to door getting Halloween candy. By the late 19th century, Samhain became identified as the Celtic New Year. They celebrate it as a holiday that marks the end of the season of light and the coming of darkness, the days becoming increasingly shorter and the nights longer, until the longest night happens on Yule in December. The day was celebrated with the lighting of bonfires, ritual cleansings, and of getting ready for winter. In Gaelic traditions, some people wore costumes to confuse the spirits who had mischief in mind. Turnips were carved out and turned into lanterns, which is where we get modern day jack-o-lantern carving. The light that came from the carved turnips was supposed to frighten off evil spirits. The history of Halloween goes on and on, but I figured I’d give the basics. Pretty interesting!
I do not wish to disparage the beliefs of anyone, whether they are pro or anti Halloween. What I do know is that all of our religious holidays, to one degree or another, have rituals and traditions that began with pagan influences. If we want to oust ALL pagan influence from our lives, starting with Halloween, then perhaps we need to look at banishing all of the holidays that we hold near and dear. Just something to think about. I choose to go into all of my holidays with my eyes on Christ, my heart pure and my ability to glean from each something wonderful, family oriented and that creates beautiful memories with the ones I hold dear to my heart.
Magic Day – Harry Houdini, maybe the most famous magician of all time, died on October 31, 1926, which paved the way for “Magic Day”, now celebrated each year on the anniversary of his death. Modern day magicians are celebrated today as well. Magicians such as David Copperfield and David Blaine come to mind. The famous magical team Siegfried and Roy just had the 10th anniversary of the day that Roy was attacked by his white tiger, Montcore. In the hours that followed the attack, Roy went “code blue” three times and doctors had to remove 25% of his skull. Obviously, this type of work can be quite dangerous! So hard to believe that it has been 10 years already.
National Knock-Knock Jokes Day – Knock knock jokes are likely to have been the very first joke we learned and repeated as children. As corny as they are, we love to tell them to each other. Always silly but always fun. Here’s one in keeping with the spirit of the day!
“Don’t cry! I’m just a Halloween Trick-or-Treater!”
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Caramel Apple Day – Don’t limit yourself to just on-a-stick treats — the combo of caramel and apples works in all forms of desserts. This is very interesting! Coating fruit in honey was an ancient preservation method, and apparently apples that were coated in toffee date back to the 19th century. I had no idea! The combination of caramel and apples works in all sorts of desserts, not just dipped apples on sticks.
I skipped out on some of the more boring celebrations to share the fun ones because I need to get moving! Last day off to this job, next week I will have to travel HALF the distance to my new job! WooHoo! God bless you and I’ll see you next month!
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Celebration list sources: