Before you think that I’ve lost my mind, allow me to explain.

This is the first day of the Celtic year and yesterday was the Celtic version of New Year’s Eve. The ancient Celts believed that at the close of the year, all the spirits of the departed would try to return to their mortal homes. Obviously, this could rather unsettling. It was bad enough that the deceased had departed this mortal life; but to have them come back?

In anticipation of these unwelcome visitors, the Celts would disguise themselves so uncle Angus or cousin Fiona would not be able to recognise their mortal relatives. The Celts would also try to frighten these unwelcome spirits away by doing things like carving a face into a turnip, hollowing it out and placing a lit candle inside. The sight of this glowing, menacing turnip was a sure-fire way to send uncle Angus and/or cousin Fiona packing.

When the Christians arrived on the scene, they co-opted the Celtic New Year’s day and renamed it “All Saints” or “All Hallows” Day. The day before was called “All Hallows Eve” or as it’s known today, “Halloween”. The scariness remained but the disguises became costumes and the carved turnips turned in to jack-o-lanterns. It became a day when the bairns – wee and not so wee – would don costumes and go from house to house where the owners would bribe these fearsome apparitions with candy so they would go away  and not play wicked tricks like haunting or turning  their privy over on its side.

And now you know the rest of the story. In the UK, there is some amount of grousing that Halloween and trick-or-treating is an unwelcome American import. This is rather unfair since it was their ancestors who started the whole thing in the first place.

Last night, we had four kids turn up st the front door of The Parsonage. This was cause for celebration as we have not had a single one for several years. As is his custom, Dr. Data wore his kilt and a good time was had by all.

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