October 31, 2011

UnDutchable: Hallo, who?

The true meaning of Halloween is far removed from the commercial event which takes place annually around the world. 

Irish immigrants carried versions of Halloween to North America in the nineteenth century while other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century.Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. 

The ancient Gaels believed that, on October 31, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. 

The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. 

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain which is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic new year. While trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of 'souling', when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day.

I usually get more excited about Halloween than Christmas, I absolutely LOVE a costume! However, here in Holland Halloween is not celebrated at all, rather, they celebrate St.Martyr in November. International students still got together to throw a party thankfully, so we could dress up in a silly costume over the weekend! But the Dutch don't fuss about it nearly as much as we do at home or across the pond and there's not a spider web, ghost or pumpkin in sight. 

Here are a few of my favourite costumes over the years! (not just for Halloween...we find any excuse to dress up!)

Scooby Doo & the Gang 2003

Call on Me Haloween 2009

Baywatch at Rugby Sevens in London

Cirque De Soleil Charity Event

My Tutti Frutti Tutu Tastic Birthday

California Gurlz & Snoop Dog

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

H.M.S Jenna Charity Event 2010

3 Blonde Mice Haloween 2004

Haloween 2011 - Hippie Protester & a blood sucking banker representing the 1% - Occupy Amsterdam

"The creative adult is a child who survived" - Ursula LeGuin


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