Montreal Daily Star, 30 October 1894, page 5

 The Festival of Halloween

Its history from the earliest pagan days

The anniversary of the year on which a young girl may learn most of her future husband—other superstitious associations.

To-morrow is an anniversary which has been observed for centuries- Hallowe’en—Except that it is well to have a definite date for all celebrations, there is no more reason why Hallowe’en should be held on the last day of October than, say, on the twentieth.  If we hold it about the end of the month we come as near as anything to the original date, which was as vague as “the close of the harvest.”  When the fall of the leaf, and the first touch of frost, indicated that winter was about to assert its sway, then the edict would go forth to gather in doors and propitiate the fairies and other supernatural powers, which it was thought, took such an active interest in the affairs of men, and especially of women.  By degrees, after Paganism had passed away, and the Roman Church adapted the festival of Hallowe’en to its own purposes, its main superstitions and observances were given over to the gentler sex.  Its rites were supposed to show them their matrimonial fate.  The agency to bring about glimpses into futurity was fire, the sole survivor of the old religion- if religion might be called.  For the children the “dookin” for apples was retained, the survival of another Pagan ceremony, and between the spells and cantrips, the vigils, the incantations and the amusement caused by the apple diving, the turnip lanterns, the wooing, the singing and the dancing, the festival of

HALLOWEEN IN OLDEN TIMES

Used to be looked forward to with eager anticipation, not only in Scotland but in England, Ireland and over a great part of the European continent.  Halloween is not a peculiarly Scotch festival.  In ancient France it was one of the great days of the year, and the rites with which it was observed seem to us cruel in their barbarity.  In Bohemia it was observed as a feast of pacification for the winter at hand, and in some parts of Russia it was a season of thankfulness for whatever harvest had been gathered.  In Scotland its mission was to nullify the influence of the evil spirits during the long winter nights and to invoke mainly for the lassies the watchful care of the good fairies.  In all sections of the country it was an occasion for family gatherings, and essentially a people’s holiday.  The old Hallowe’en rites are falling into disuse; but by Scotchmen the day is never allowed to pass unregarded.

A Hallowe’en party is one of the most attractive for young people, to whom any species of divination possesses an unfailing charm.  Ample room is one of the first essentials of a successful Hallowe’en party.  The parlor is apt to be cumbered with too much bric-a-brac, and therefore a large dining room, or even a kitchen may be used for the purpose.  It is very desireable and almost necessary to have an open fireplace in the room, as many of the tricks of the Hallowe’en festival

DEPEND ON AN OPEN FIRE

A large bag of candy should be suspended from the ceiling, and as many rosy-cheeked apples as there are guests.  There should also be a tub of water.  Though elderly people may be restrained by their dignity from bobbing for apples, it affords a great deal of innocent pleasure to the young.  It affords also a good deal of amusement to have a “verse of fortune” attached to each apple.  There should be abundances of mottoes in the bag of candy, so that all may receive several verses.  The first step in the evening’s game is the bursting of the candy bag.  For this purpose lots are drawn, and the one to whom the lot falls is blindfolded and furnished with a stout stick.  The fabric of the bag should be of flimsy material, so that it may be easily broken at a sharp blow.  The blindfolded individual is turned around three times and must discover the position of the bag and break it.  It is best to spread a large tablecloth under the bag to catch the contents.  A general ~~~~

[rest of text illegible]

Advertisements