This is a previous post but since it is a timely subject, I thought we could use a break from all of the politics and think about simpler times. Please join me for a walk down memory lane or maybe even a hayride….Hmm????
TODAY THE WORD is HAYRIDES. At this time of year with Halloween, Fall Festivals, etc. coming up or maybe it is my hay fever taking me back to my experience of hayrides. I am not sure if hayrides are popular anymore, but in my childhood, I was privy to several and I think every child needs to experience at least one hayride. I thought I would take us on a ride down memory lane and hope that all children can hop on and ride with us.
Usually the hayride coincided with Halloween or fall festivals and were mostly sponsored by local churches. The farmers helped by furnishing the trailer complete with bales of hay, sometimes loose hay for all of us to sit on or fall in which happened quite frequently. The time was set normally to start this ride through the country side at dusk. The objective was to get all of us children excited with a little fear thrown in for good measure. The slow ride accompanied by the sound of the tractor was supplemented by a lot of yelling, a few screams, and the attempted campsite song of broken choruses when the trailer would hit a hole or bump in the road. Oh, it was funny and scary at the same time. Once in a while, someone would fall in the hay, not serious enough to injure, but silly enough to cause laughter and giggling.
The trail would sometimes stop at a cemetery, where church members (adults who were the biggest kids in the world) were hiding behind tall tombstones to scare the daylights out of us. The running started then with the “big kids” laughing their heads off. Everyone was loaded again, and off we would go, laughing and some girls crying since they didn’t see the humor in the scary events in the graveyard.
We have always had candy for the children and love to see the little ones in costumes. I say it is an individual choice to celebrate Halloween or to not celebrate. I have never thought of bad thoughts about this holiday but again, it is not up to me to encourage or discourage others.
The Origins of 15 Spooky Halloween Traditions
This Halloween, don’t just have the best costume and the spookiest decorations on your block—share these sweet facts, too.
Jack-o-lanterns, which originated in Ireland with turnips instead of pumpkins, are based on a legend about a man name Stingy Jack who repeatedly trapped the Devil and only let him go on the condition that Jack would never go to Hell. However, when he died Jack learned that Heaven didn’t really want his soul either after all his devilish dealings, so he was condemned to wander the earth as a ghost for all eternity. His old friend, the Devil, gifted Jack a lump of burning coal, which Jack carried around in a carved-out turnip to light his way. Locals began carving frightening faces into their own gourds to scare off evil spirits such as Jack of the Lantern.
Celtic people believed that during the festival Samhain, which marked the transition to the new year at the end of the harvest and beginning of the winter, spirits walked the Earth. Later, the introduction of All Souls Day on November 2 by Christian missionaries perpetuated the idea of a mingling between the living and the dead around that time.
With all these ghosts wandering around the Earth during Samhain, the Celts had to get creative to avoid being terrorized by evil spirits. To fake out the ghosts, people would don disguises so they would be mistaken for spirits themselves and left alone.
Everyone can agree that free candy is awesome. Beyond that, there’s lots of debate around the origins of trick-or-treating. One theory proposes that during Samhain, Celtic people would leave out food to placate the souls and ghosts and spirits traveling the earth that night. Eventually, people began dressing up as these otherworldly beings in exchange for similar offerings of food and drink.
5. Trick-or-Treating, the Scottish Way
Other researchers speculate that the candy bonanza stems from the Scottish practice of guising, itself a secular version of souling. In the Middle Ages, soulers, children and poor adults, would go to local homes and collect food or money in return for prayers said for the dead on All Souls’ Day. Guisers ditched the prayers in favor of less religious performances like jokes, songs, or other “tricks.”
6. Trick-or-Treating, American-style
Some sources argue that our modern trick-or-treating stems from belsnickling, a tradition in German-American communities where children would dress in costume and then call on their neighbors to see if the adults could guess the identities of the disguised guests. In one version of the practice, the children were rewarded with food or other treats if no one could identify them.
7. Black Cats
The association of black cats and spookiness actually dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, when these dark kitties were considered a symbol of the Devil. It didn’t help the felines’ reputations when, centuries later, accused witches were often found to have cats, especially black ones, as companions. People started believing that the cats were a witch’s “familiar”—animals that gave them an assist with their dark magic—and the two have been linked ever since.
8. Bobbing for Apples
This game traces its origins to a courting ritual that was part of a Roman festival honoring Pamona, the goddess of agriculture and abundance. Multiple variations existed, but the basic gist was that young men and women would be able to foretell their future relationships based on the game. When the Romans conquered the British Isles the Pamona festival was blended with the similarly timed Samhain, a precursor to Halloween.
9. Black and Orange
The classic Halloween colors can also trace their origins back to the Celtic festival Samhain. Black represented the “death” of summer while orange is emblematic of the autumn harvest season.
As a phenomenon that often varies by region, the pre-Halloween tradition, also known as “Devil’s Night”, is credited with a different origin depending on whom you ask. Some sources say that pranks were originally part of May Day Celebrations. But Samhain, and eventually All Souls Day, always seem to have included good-natured mischief. When Scottish and Irish immigrants came to America, they brought along the tradition of celebrating Mischief Night as part of Halloween, which was great for candy-fueled pranksters.
11. Candles and Bonfires
These days, candles are more likely than towering traditional bonfires, but for much of the early history of Halloween, open flames were integral in lighting the way for souls seeking the afterlife.
12. Candy Apples
People have been coating fruit in sugar syrups as a means of preservation for centuries. Since the development of the Roman festival of Pamona, a goddess often represented by and associated with apples, the fruit has had a place in harvest celebrations. But the first mention of candy apples being given out at Halloween didn’t occur until the 1950s.
It’s likely that bats were present at the earliest celebrations of proto-Halloween, not just symbolically but literally. As part of Samhain, the Celts lit large bonfires, which attracted insects. The insects, in turn, attracted bats, which soon became associated with the festival. Medieval folklore expanded upon the spooky connotation of bats with a number of superstitions built around the idea that bats were the harbingers of death.
The act of going door-to-door for handouts has long been a part of Halloween celebrations. But up until the middle of the 20th century, the “treats” kids received were not necessarily candy—toys, coins, fruit and nuts were just as likely to be given out. The rise in the popularity of trick-or-treating in the 1950s inspired candy companies to make a marketing push with small, individually wrapped confections. People obliged out of convenience, but candy didn’t dominate at the exclusion of all other treats until parents started fearing anything unwrapped in the 1970s.
15. Candy Corn
According to some stories, a candymaker at the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia invented the revolutionary tri-color candy in the 1880s. The treats didn’t become a widespread phenomenon until another company brought the candy to the masses in 1898. At the time, candy corn was called “Chicken Feed” and sold in boxes that read “Something worth crowing for.” Originally just generically autumnal candy because of corn’s association with harvest time, candy corn became Halloween-specific when trick-or-treating rose to prominence in the 1950s.
Now for the deeper thought…..I feel some indoctrination into the “scary” parts of life are healthy for children. Parents teach children to trust in them by being there for the support and for the safety from the “boogie man”. God is our Father and we are exposed to some scary times in our lives and we need to remember the lesson of the hay ride. We are going to be scared in life; we have to trust in God to make it all go away and allow us to load back on the life trailer and keep riding. Life can be fun and at the same time a little frightening so if we make sure God is on every hay ride; we are going to have a good time and make it over the holes and the bumps in the road.
(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location, if known, for credit reference.