ALL HALLOWS EVE 2012 – GUEST AUTHOR: Amanda Bonilla “Fun Halloween Facts” & Giveaway (ends 31/10/12)
Fun Halloween Facts
Thanks so much to Book Chick City for inviting me as a guest today!
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I love the cooler weather, the brilliant oranges and reds of the trees, canning and preserving the vegetables we’ve grown for the winter, and autumn means I can finally start wearing my jeans and boots. Yay for sweater weather! And of course, there’s Halloween. But this fall holiday wasn’t always about metric tons of candy and girls dressing up like sexy nurses and other scantily clad professionals. All Hallows Eve, or Samhain, is a holiday steeped in pagan tradition and historical significance. It’s one holiday everyone relates to in one form or another, whether it be out of fear of evil machinations at work, the opportunity to dress up and leave reality behind for an evening, or the symbolism of the land dying before its rebirth in the spring. So today, I thought I’d share some fun Halloween facts.
Everyone loves to carve pumpkins. They adorn almost every window or doorstep in every neighborhood in the week leading up to Halloween. But did you know that these sometimes scary looking carvings date back to Celtic society? Originally, Jack-o’-Lanterns were actually carved turnips, not pumpkins. As the legend goes, there was this farmer named Jack who managed to trick the devil. When he died, he was turned away from both heaven and hell. He was forced to wander through purgatory and he made himself a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal from hell and he used the lantern to guide his soul through the darkness of purgatory. Jack-o’-lanterns for centuries have been used in the same mien: a guide for the souls of the dead that wander the earth on Halloween.
Bats and Cats
We all know that black cats are bad luck, but where does that come from? In the dark ages, when witch hunts were prevalent, women who lived alone were often suspected of practicing witchcraft. During the investigation, evidence was considered more damning if the woman owned a cat, as the animal was thought to be her familiar. Likewise, bats, dark and creepy in their own right, have been associated with darkness and evil for years and also thought of as witches’ familiars. If a bat was seen flying over a house three times on All Hallows Eve, it was an ominous omen that someone within the house had been cursed and would soon die.
I know a lot of people consider spiders as a sign of good luck. Honestly, I’m terrified of the little eight-legged beasts so I don’t subscribe to that belief. I tend to think that if they’re outside, live and let live. But the second one of them comes in the house, all bets are off! However, in Celtic society, if you happened to see a spider in your home on Halloween it meant a deceased loved one was watching over you. I have to admit, it’s a nice thought!
Trick or Treating
On the night of Samhain, the Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were at its thinnest. It was the one night of the year that the souls of the deceased could wander the earth and cause mischief. Therefore, people placed offerings of food and drink for the spirits in order to placate them. And since spirits were capable of assuming another guise on Samhain, it was thought of as bad luck to turn anyone away who might happen upon your doorstep, because the beggar at your door could be a spirit in disguise. Hence, the tradition of trick or treating! Kids dress up to symbolize the wandering spirits and go door to door asking for a “treat.” I don’t know about you, but most kids I know are definitely placated by a candy bar.
Have you ever wondered why the traditional colors for Halloween are black and orange? It’s not a fad invented by corporations or a convenient connection to candy corn. Black and orange have been associated with All Hallows Eve for centuries. The orange represents the colors of autumn, and black represents death. Death of the land as it prepares for winter, as well as the spirit realm. Pretty cool, right?
Thanks to livescience.com for the fun Halloween facts! What are your favorite Halloween traditions? Do you make caramel apples? Decorate your home? Put out Jack-o’-Lanterns and leave candy out for trick-or-treaters? I’d love to hear about it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Bonilla lives in rural Idaho with her husband and two kids. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves the outdoors, black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.
ABOUT THE BOOK: For months Darian and her Shaede guardian Raif have searched for the Oracle who attempted to overthrow the Shaede Nation—and kill Darian in the bargain. But now that they’ve finally found the half-crazed Oracle, for their efforts they are granted a possibility too painful for Raif to imagine, and too enticing for Darian to ignore.
Darian is determined to reunite Raif and the daughter he thought was dead, but her mission quickly proves dangerous when her lover Tyler is almost killed. And when a brooding and mysterious Fae warrior offers his guidance—at an extraordinary price—Darian finds herself willing to risk everything. As her single-minded hunt turns into an obsession, and she and Tyler grow further apart, Darian finds herself caught between the man she loves like a brother, and the man whose love she can’t live without…
Amanda is kindly giving away a copy of Blood Before Sunrise to one lucky winner.
To enter please answer the following question then fill out the form below: What are your favourite Halloween traditions?
This giveaway is open to all and ends 31st October 2012
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