Column: Samhain: the Celebration of a New Year

Between today and Saturday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers.

Tuesday: The Kings County Record (Sussex)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin

Thursday: The Western Star (Corner Brook)

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Title: Samhain: the Celebration of a New Year

Snippet: If a neighbourhood kid dressed as a ghost came to my grandparents’ door in the 1920s and asked for food, my father—only a lad at the time—would have probably run away screaming, “There’s a monster at the door!”

My grandmother however may have recognised the youth and invited him in to sit by the fire where she’d serve him tea and bread. After all any kid coming to her door on a cold October night begging for food and wearing whatever clothing he could find must be starving.

Nan might have heard about All Hallows Eve through her Scottish ancestors, but the practise of children dressing up and going door-to-door trick or treating for food or money was uncommon in the early 1900s. My grandmother instead probably marked the occasion by attending community gatherings with family and friends. Adults and children played games, celebrated the harvest and performed rituals to ward off bad luck.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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