Halloween!

So next M0nday is my very favorite holiday–Halloween! Unlike, say, Christmas or Thanksgiving, there is no weird family stuff, no obligations, no gifts to buy, just candy and dressing up and fun. I love it–especially the dressing up! This year I am going to be a French maid, if my modiste finishes my costume on time…

Halloween has its origins about 2000 years ago, in the Celtic festival of Samhain (summer’s end). It marked the death of summer and the beginning of the new year, and the boundaries between life and death were thought to be thinner. It was a moment of change, of magic and supernatural power. The Romans adapted this into the harvest festival of Pomona, goddess of the harvest, and the Christians made it All Soul’s Day. Trick or treat has its origins in the Middle Ages, in parades where the poor would go door to door begging for “soul cakes” in return for prayers for the cake-givers’ deceased relatives.

I’ve been doing lots of research on the Victorian era for my current WIPs, and like so many Victorian holidays Halloween became a bigger deal during the later 19th century than it had been before. The Victorians loved any excuse to have a party, and they also loved spooky, ghost-y things (seances, mediums, mourning jewelry, etc). Halloween became more romantic and sentimental, centering around divination games (like the “looking glass spell,” where a girl could see her future husband in a mirror), harvest-type games like bobbing for apples, ghost story-telling, and general partying with friends. There are some adorable Victorian Halloween postcards!

So to celebrate the holiday, let’s look at some examples of mourning jewelry and those adorable postcards….












BTW,for a good site about Victorian mourning jewelry you can go here

What are you doing this Halloween? Any mirror games??

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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