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Edinburgh Halloween !!!

October 31st, 2012 · No Comments · edinburgh

Halloween is almost with us and I am amazed to see how huge Halloween has become. Twenty years ago I was on holiday in Boston USA with my young son who was completely transfixed with the amazing Halloween decorations at every corner. People decorate their homes, yards and gardens as much as we do at Christmas time. This past week walk about Edinburgh City Centre there are pumpkins, cobwebs, ghosts and ghouls everywhere.

Edinburgh has a very scary history and there are many walking tours and ghost tours going on all year all over the city but mainly in the historic Royal Mile nearby by our Royal Mile Edinburgh Apartments.

Most people believe Halloween started in in Western Europe as a Harvest Festival however most believe it has pagan roots and Samhain (Beltane). This is seen as a time when the door opens enough for the souls of the dead. People took steps to ward off harmful spirits and fairies and this is what is seen to have influenced todays Halloween customs.

Wearing costumes may have originated as a means of disguising oneself from these harmful spirits and fairies. In Ireland, people went about before nightfall collecting for Samhain feasts and sometimes wore costumes while doing so. In the 19th century on Ireland’s southern coast, a man dressed as a white mare would lead youths door-to-door collecting food; by giving them food, the household could expect good fortune.

Trick-or-treating may thus have come from the custom of going door-to-door collecting food for Samhain feasts, fuel for Samhain bonfires or Samhain offerings for the spirits and fairies.

Making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween may also have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. As well as being used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, they may also have been used to represent the spirits or fairies  to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

We have a group of twenty ladies staying in our Edinburgh Lothian Apartment this weekend who have asked to come early so they can decorate the apartment with cobwebs and pumpkins, I am sure they will have great fun in the huge lounge and they can even make their own Halloween cocktails in their very own bar.



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