Monday, 7 September 2015

B is for Brimstone, Bats and Brooms - 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.

And B is for Bargello Brimstone from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

Bargello has a variety of names; Irish Stitch, Flame Stitch and Florentine to name but three more.  Careful counting is required when using this stitch!

Onto bats.  So why are bats associated with Hallowe'en?  

"Bats have long been associated with Halloween but the connection is by far less ominous than some would suspect. In Halloween's ancient origins people would gather together around giant bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Attracted to the warmth and bright light of these fires were many small flying insects; natural food for hungry bats.  People saw the bats flickering in and out of the firelight during the festivals and they became a feature of Halloween lore.

The link between the bat and Halloween became strengthened with the discovery of the Vampire Bat in the 17th century.  Tales of bats that drank blood had circulated throughout Europe for centuries before but it wasn't till the Spanish exploration of Central and South America that there was physical proof.  It was a natural association for a dark holiday, a creature that lapse the life blood of its prey in the dark of night."

There are some great batty designs around, here a couple I found online:

Tribal Bat

And moving swiftly onto Brooms or Besoms.  Why are brooms so closely connected to witches?  I suppose a broom is something everyone had in their home, on its own it wouldn't attract attention or suspicion.  It is also an easy piece of evidence for the Witchfinder to use against the local wisewoman.

Besom is another word for a traditionally made broom with a bundle of twigs attached to a sturdy pole, as a result the besom is round rather than flat.  The besom is often used in Wiccan and other Pagan traditions as it represents both genders.  The pole is male and the twigs are female.  You often find brooms used in marriages ceremonies, either in addition to a religious or legal ceremony or in place of when the two people could not marry legally.

In parts of Wales, a broom could be placed at an angle across a doorway.  The groom would jump over followed by his bride.  If the broom stayed where it was the marriage was on, if it fell down the marriage was then called off!  You may have heard the term "living over the brush" meaning living together without being married.  This is where it come from.

Halloween (The Moon Laughs) - Cross Stitch Pattern

Drive A Stick

And to finish, here is an image which popped up on Google when I asked Why do witches ride brooms - 


Brigitte said...

Great pieces of information about all these Halloween-related things. Besom sounds very similar to the German word for broom, which is Besen.

AnaCristina said...

I didn't know why bats are associated with Halloween. Here in Brazil Halloween is only commemorated by people who admire English I :-D or in English Schools.

Heather said...

Great post! The explanation of bats makes sense I had never thought about looking that up. Good explanation of brooms too I need to stitch a drive a stick piece :)

Pamela said...

I agree - interesting information!

Rita said...

Great post! When we were in Boston and Vermont last year, we took a brief side trip to Salem, Mass. We went to one of the attractions which was a little, what's the word for it? Maybe tourist trap? But it did have some interesting info about the Salem witch trials.

One thing I also enjoyed while in the Boston area was touring the old graveyards. The tombstones were beautiful!

Kaisievic said...

I love all of the info on the bats and such great designs, Jo, thank you.

Stitching Noni said...

Great post! Love the cartoon at the end :o)
The bats in the round is a really nice design.. must remember that one for next time I need to stitch bats!! :o)
Hugs xx