Sunday, 2 August 2015

A is for All Hallow's Eve, Autumn and Apple - Revisited

When we first started this blog I made a series of posts beginning with each letter of the alphabet starting with A.  Unfortunately, they ground to a halt after L.  So in honour of The Alphabet Club hosted by Chiara I have decided to resurrect the original posts and link up each month with the rest of the Alphabet Club posters.  To learn more about this SAL follow the Alphabet Club link to Chiara's blog.

A being for All Hallows' Eve.  Like many of our modern festivals Hallowe'en has become more secular after years of being a Christian celebration built upon a Pagan festival.  Other examples include Easter and Christmas.

Plum Street Samplers

The Celts celebrated the feast of Samhain (the name comes from the Old Irish for Summer's End) as the first and most important of the four quarter days in the Medieval Gaelic calendar.  The other three being Imbolc (1st February), Beltaine (1st May) and Lughnasa (1st August).  Samhain marked the end of the Harvest Season and the start of the darker days of Winter.  It was seen as a time of year when spirits and the fae could cross the borders into our world more easily usual.

Gryphon's Moon

When the Celtic countries became Christian the Church realised that converting the old Pagan festivals into religious days was the best way to get the peasants and common folk to change their ways.  After all, you can't go dancing naked round the hill-tops if you are praying in church all day!

Janet Morningstar

For Christians, 1st November is All Hallows' Day or All Saints' Day which makes 31st October All Hallows' Eve.  Hallows' Eve being shortened to Hallowe'en with e'en meaning "evening".

Waxing Moon Designs
So many of the modern customs have their roots in traditions started by the Celts or the Christians and molded, changed and adapted across the years.  I wonder if the early Pagans or first European Christians would recognise our current celebrations?

If you'd like to read more about the origins of Hallowe'en I started at this Wiki page and wandered around from there!

A is also for Autumn the season when Hallowe'en occurs (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway).  Here is a cute Autumn design I stitched by Erica Michaels on the Rainbow Gallery website

DSC03304AutumnExchange.jpg Erica Michaels Autumn Exchange

And A is for Apple as the design at the top of this post shows.  This is one block from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

Apples are believed to be associated with Hallowe'en via the Roman Fertility Goddess Pomona whose festival was held in November.  When the Romans came to Britain they discovered the Celts' belief that the pentagram was a fertility symbol.  When an apple is sliced in half horizontally rather than vertically, the seeds form a pentagram-like shape, and it is thought that the manifestation of such a symbol meant that the apple could be used to determine marriages during this time of year. From this belief comes the game bobbing for apples.  During the annual celebration, young unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string; the first person to bite into the apple would be the next one to be allowed to marry.

Another superstition involves peeling the apple in one long strand and throwing it over your shoulder, the peel will form the initial of your future husband's name.  This actually worked for me as my hubby's name begins with S and my peel invariably fell in an S shape.  What do you mean, it always falls in an S?

Of course the Christians saw the apple as the downfall of humanity when the Serpent tempted Eve with one in the Garden of Eden, so it is hardly surprising the humble fruit has become associated with the Dark Celebrations of Hallowe'en!

I looked around for some Hallowe'en Apple themed stitching, most of them feature pumpkins rather than apples but I found this one:

Moon and Spider, Apple Cider by Needle Work Press

And this lovely Caramel Apple from Mill Hill:

So how do you like your apples?  Bobbed, baked, cooked in a crumble, covered in toffee or caramel?  Or maybe pressed into cider?

Happy Munching!


Heather said...

With caramel for sure :). Great post!

Stitching Noni said...

Great post!
Love toffee apples... and apple crumble and apple pie... baked apples... apple sauce... and seriously who can go past some scrummy apple cider!!
Hugs xx

jocondine said...

Pomme, Pomme, Pomme, Pomme (sung on the rhythm of 5e symphony of B)
Of course apple (for an EVE mother it's essential)
My grandmother used to give us "rabotte" it's apples coated with pastry with sugar in and out (a lot)! Miam-Miam

Crystal Rhew Staley said...

What a fun post! I do like a good candy apple but I also like them with peanut butter.

Anonymous said...

Catching up with all the TAC posts and this is such a fun one! Informative and packed with tidbits that made me want to learn even more. Can't wait for your B input now :)

P.S. Baked apples are me fav! With a sprinkling of cinnamon. YUMMM! Would you be scandalized if I said I've never had a caramel or toffee apple before?