Micah’s History of Everything: Halloween

Posted: October 29, 2013 by Micah in A History of Everything

Okay so… this post was all set up to go yesterday and then… it did not. No clue what happened there. Now I could go through and update this and change some of the paragraphs to reflect my new feelins and emotions and the face that the Red Sox won another game last night, but the Red Sox won a game last night! Which means that I have continued my streak of not sleeping so… sentences are gonna be an issue. At least this way your just getting me on mild sleep depravation so… enjoy the following blog.

Ah fellow Octoberians! It’s a good day. The Red Sox came back and won a crazy game last night and while I can honestly this world series is wreaking havoc on anything vaguely regarding my ability to sleep it is well worth the sacrifice to watch/listen to the beard brothers doing that thing they do! Of course the series is just tied now and we’ve got one more game in St. Louis but all of the ladies reading this have officially mentally checked out and are now staring at their computer screens with an odd distant expression like what happens when people try and explain “why” something is funny. Just a tip: if you have to explain why something is funny, it wasn’t.

So instead of talking about how Kojii Uehara is my new hero let’s talk about something we can all relate to: Halloween!

In the interest of full disclosure (or Sue Disclosure… one of those Disclosure people is interested) WordPress is still being really weird about pictuers so rather than try and do another costume blog without being able to show costumes I decided to just skip to the History post I was going to put up on Thursday. Regardless: here you go.

The word Halloween is actually of Scottish descent. Formerly known as All Hollows Eve (or E’en) and thus through a hilarious game of “telephone” played by ancient Scottish people transformed into Halloween. See parents? See how educational that sentence was? I mean who needs Sesame Street when you’ve got me! Not only will I instill in your children the value of The Dark Knight in modern society, but I’ll also educate them in the ways of word history AND blatantly lie to them about how smart they are!! Party. On. I mean ummmm educate. On. Or something.

Anyway, some early stuff that led to Halloween as we know it were parties celebrating various days of the dead. People who would sit around and say to themselves “man don’t you miss Aunt Harriet? Let’s light a candle and then a bonfire and then a person and see if that helps here at all!”

Another early start to Halloween is a holiday in ancient Scotland where some guy would dress up and lead around some little kids who then recited verses of ancient gaelic ancienthood and then as long as ancient galiec people gave them ancient gaelic food (for instance: dirt) they would have “good luck” in the year to come. Assumingly the good luck would cover the cost of paying some lunatic and his raggedy band of raggedy Anne’s for reciting some verses some other Gaelic person wrote down many years before.

Moving on to more recent Romany typed times, it seems the Pope decided in his popely wisdom to create something called Hallowmas a three day Holiday that includes All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. A three day period in which people remembered the dead, rang bells for the dead, and (presumably) died (though not all of them.) It was also a common belief during these times that those recently deceased would come back to life to seek revenge on those who had wronged them. Thus, the wearing of costumes started up so that those who had wronged the dead could hide from said dead, before they themselves were made dead and had to hunt down those dead people for which (I assume) there would be a whole separate holiday and THAT would just get confusing.

Most ancient Halloweens also seem to have involved a lot of setting things on fire for various reasons. Reasons such as: Divining the future, scaring off evil spirits, holy ashes (no seriously), and smores.

Also, a lot of people left out food for dead people. For instance in Spain women would bake something called “bones of the holy” and leave them in graveyards and French people would leave dishes full of milk next to the graves of their relatives which is why you see so many fat French cats. Seriously though you know what that sounds a lot like in a horribly creepy weird way? Leaving cookies and milk out for Santa. Yeah… I’m just as weirded out as you I promise. Both with the insinuation that Santa may be a dead zombie and that he might somehow be French. Tee-hee… French Santa.

Jack-o-Lanters are another delightfully weird Halloween thing that we do and it actually comes from a Scottish/Irish tradition wherein they hallow out Turnips and put lanterns in them. Americans adapted the idea to pumpkins because pumpkins are larger and softer and because you can’t make Turnip Spice Latte’s. (trust me.)

Supposedly the story originates with a young Irish Ragamuffin (the best sort of muffin) named Jack who one night is trapped by the Devil  in a tree… for some reason. And he carves a cross into the bark of the tree and then for some reason makes a deal with the Devil so the Devil can’t claim his soul. But then he proceeds to live a terrible life so when he dies and tries to get into Heaven he gets denied like Miley Cyrus at the entrance to the “Totally Sane People” convention. So he gets sent to Hell but the Devil already promised he wouldn’t take Jack to hell so then (and this is where things take a downward turn storywise) the Devil throws a coal at him and Jack hollows out a gourd and puts the coal in it so that he won’t get cold… cause that’s a thing for dead people… I guess. And now he wonders around Scotland looking for a place to rest.

You ever noticed that Ghosts never wander to cool places? Like if I was a ghost I wouldn’t hang out in a field with a hallowed out gourd! I’d be seeing the sights, hangin’ with various dead peeps, and figuring out how James Cameron thinks he’s going to make three more Avatar movies when he basically just copy and pasted the plot from Pocahontas and then spilled blue paint all over it.

So anyway, that’s Halloween… I think. Mostly. And that’s the blog for today! Check back Thursday when I preview the movies of November and give out some awesome Halloween costume ideas.

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