and a story :
Hallow’s eve or Samhain is almost upon us. On Oct 31 according to the ancient Celtic tradition we move from the harvest into winter.
We’ve had beautiful weather on the coast with clear, vibrant and colourful days. The crunch of the woodland path, the kids coming out of the little school by the train tracks, the jack o’ lanterns on porches, all fold across the tapestry of time back to our own childhood. This was a month of excitement, carving pumpkins, making costumes, the smell of leaves burning at the foot of the garden and everyone piling into dad’s car and heading into town to buy Chinese fireworks.
–My father was a latent pyromaniac- and the bonfire and fireworks king of the neighbourhood! Our lovely border collie would run for the shelter of the bedroom at the first sight of Dad with his big bag of exploding delights. One time a malfunctioning Roman candle went off course, hissing and zigzagging across the ground with loud bangs and sending us all screaming and scrambling. The flying sparks set a dried part of the outer hedge alight. Dad had the extinguisher at hand but not before Mom ran out onto the porch and completed the row of pumpkin lanterns in their various states of menacing grimace. A practical Scotswoman (who had some rituals of her own), she loomed like the Halloween oracle with arms crossed and head nodding in vigorous affirmation of her dire predictions of celebratory disasters.
Of course in most cities now there are designated areas for fireworks but I remember all the kids that congregated on our lawn as my scallywag – hatted father with a botefeux in hand welcomed the motley neighbourhood crew of witches and goblins who excitedly arrived at the back gate along with various pirates, gypsies, a werewolf or two and even a Chinese Emperor. There was also a table with a lamp shade who shouted and danced joyously between the pinwheels and sparklers. Dad was actually quite military about it all and except for that one minor incident, no one was ever blown to smithereens or burnt to a crisp and no animals or children were ever harmed during production.
meanwhile, tread carefully in the woods as we approach the holiday, for the veil between life and death is very thin at this time of year and spirits may pass freely between two worlds.
and if you are lucky enough to be in Edinburgh this year The Beltane Society will be having a “Samhuinn” celebration on Calton Hill with music, performers and fire!! Link to their site from image.
If you like spooky stories I have a few here under my haunted tab
From ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties
and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord preserve us
*Botefeux- a long stick used to light canons
*scallywag- a type of pirate hat