The Magic of Halloween.

Halloween is a festive event. Handing out candy to all of the children in the neighborhood allows Me the chance to admire the adorable costumes. I make a point of preparing a pumpkin soup  to add to the splendor and excitement of the season. Neighbors decorate their  front windows, doors and porches with witches, pumpkins, ghosts, and skeletons. I’ve always felt a crisp and wonderful energy – Halloween is a time of magic.

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Have You ever wondered about the ancient roots of Halloween. Often Our traditions predate Christianity. The ancient festival of Samhain  was observed through out the  Celtic lands , in Ireland, Scotland and Isle of Man, from October 31 until November 1st. The date  falls at midpoint between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter solstice. For this reason, Samhain is  classified as a cross quarter date on the Wheel of the Year of The Celtic Calendar.  On this day the veil between our world  and other dimensions blur, as energy surges . It is said at this time Souls return through this veil to visit. Many  important events  recorded in Irish  Literature and Mythology are set during Samhain.   Feasts were prepared, with place settings and food set aside for departed souls. Ritual bonfires were lit for protection of homes, livestock and farms. Divination rituals were important at this time. People went door to door in costumes, or disguises, reciting verses in exchange for food. Samhain officially marked the conclusion of the harvest season, and signaled  the beginning of winter. In an agrarian society this involved preparing for the cold weather ahead. November 1st marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.  Samhain evolved into All Hallow’s Eve. Many other European cultures developed similar traditions. The Ukrainian people celebrate Malanka, the second week of January. People dress up in costumes, and visit friends and neighbors door to door, singing and caroling. The event involves dressing in masks and costumes.

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By the 9th century, The Catholic Church  proclaimed  All Saint’s Day on November 1st, and All Souls Day on November 2.  Eventually Samhain, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day evolved  into the current observance of Halloween. In Mexico and Europe All Saints Day is observed on November 1st. Today, Celtic Neopagans and Wiccans observe Samhain. It is celebrated as a spiritual event incorporating the many of the original traditions and rituals  of the season.

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No discussion of Halloween would be complete with out the mention of  black cats.  During the middle ages,  cats were believed to have evil powers. Cats across the European Continent were killed in large numbers. Black Cats were thought to be exceptionally evil.  As soldiers and knights returned from the Crusades, rodents also boarded  the ships carrying the deadly Bubonic Plague. Because the cat population was almost exterminated, the Plague spread faster and faster, through out Europe. Often people who dared to own a cat would avoid death. The extermination of cats was halted. Cats were brought back in to the farms, villages, towns, and cities. Cats played an important roll in eliminating the Plague in Europe.

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Celebrate Autumn.

Autumn is My favourite season. The  vivid rich colours, the fresh crisp air, the first frost – I love the fall.  The pumpkin is wonderful signal that autumn has arrived. One of My personal fall traditions is to prepare a pumpkin soup. The first step in this project is to shop for the perfect organic pumpkin. Once I have accomplished this, I scrape out the seeds and pulp. Starting at the top of the pumpkin, I carve out a circle which will serve as a lid when I place the pumpkin in the oven later on. The seeds may be saved to roast, too. prepare a vegetable broth, comprised of celery, onions, and carrots. I prepare the broth in a pot, in advance. Seasonings are added. When the oven preheated at about 300 degrees, I complete the final steps of My recipe – I add the soup stock to the empty carved out pumpkin, At this point, I may elect to add extra ingredients –  green beans, tomatoes, and brown  rice. When this is complete, I place My carved pumpkin lid back on the pumpkin, placing it in the oven, usually for about two hours. When the pumpkin is ready to be served, the actual pumpkin will be soft. It may be scooped out with the soup.

Five Health Benefits Of the Pumpkin

1. Beta Carotene
2. Vitamin A
3. Vitamin C
4. Potassium
5. Fiber

Homemade soup is another fantastic way to introduce more vegetables into Your diet. Create Your own recipes, with what ever You have on hand. Add an assortment of fresh organic produce. Some of My favorite ingredients include potatoes, cabbage, onions, and carrots. Rice, pasta, or barley may be added in.

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In Alberta, autumn is a time of year when residents plan and prepare for the winter months ahead. Motorists install winter tires because winter driving is hazardous. Home owners install insulation and seal drafts around doors and windows. People everywhere stock up with extra quilts and blankets. In Edmonton, where I live, the first heavy snow fall could occur as early as October. In Canada, We celebrate Thanksgiving in October. This year Thanksgiving falls on October 9th. Although there were snow flurries earlier in September in northwest Alberta, and the mountain parks, central Alberta is now warm and mild.
Despite the approaching winter, many people love autumn. We still have leaves to rake, as trees are pruned, and soil in overturned in gardens. Most of My Clients report a better quality of sleep at this time of year. As the hours of sunlight decrease, nature signals a need to hibernate. October is a wonderful time to catch up on reading. Spending an afternoon or evening with a good book is My idea of luxury.

The rituals of fall continue leading up to Halloween. People love to decorate their personal space. Yards,living room windows, and front entrance receive make overs for the event! I love walking down the street a few days before Halloween to see how friends and neighbors have decorated the front door areas.