Halloween – The Origin of All The Traditions

THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN1

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, the night that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered most of the Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin and the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain combined.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and its incorporation into Samhain probably explains why we “bob” for apples today on Halloween.

On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Western Church established the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs and moved the date from May 13 to November 1.

By the 9th century, Christian influence had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related church-sanctioned holiday.

All Souls Day and Samhain were celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, was called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween celebration was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.

As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.

Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, immigrants flooded America. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize Halloween celebrations nationally.

Borrowing from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.

Newspapers and community leaders encouraged parents to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but a community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague some celebrations in many communities during this time.

By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated.

Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.

Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.

The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.

People delivered soul cakes, encourage by their churches to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, known as  “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

Dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry.

It was believed that on Halloween, ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would meet ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic, and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats.

We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed in sacred triangles (it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder is fairly unsafe). And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead.

In particular, many had to do with helping young women find their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes instead of  popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)

Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.

Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Of course, whether we’re asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the goodwill of the very same “spirits” whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly.

Barb Schrader
October 25, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic
Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

Have a Keto Halloween

Keto HalloweenWhile we at Functional Endocrinology of Ohio are not typically into diet fads, members of our office have recently adopted a very effective eating plan – The Ketogenic Diet.

A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan designed to encourage the body to burn fat for energy and not carbohydrates. This is a powerful weight management strategy and provides several other known health benefits. This diet has demonstrated effectiveness as an adjunct treatment approach in managing a number of health-care conditions, including:

When the body uses fat for fuel, the liver produces ketone bodies. Ketone bodies burn fat more efficiently than carbohydrates. By eating this way, you create an environment where most of the body’s energy comes from ketone bodies in the blood, rather than glucose.   It becomes easy to use your fat stores to burn them off. This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits like, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy throughout the day and into the evening.

So, the question then is what should I put into my body to allow it to enter Ketosis? Generally speaking, one should adhere to the following macro-nutrient ratios:

  • High Fat – 60%-80% of total calories from fat.
  • Moderate Protein – 15%-35% of total calories from protein.
  • Low Carbohydrate – 5% or less of total calories from carbohydrates.

Eating according to this macro-nutrient breakdown will allow you to deplete your body of glucose and force it to start breaking down ketone bodies. While the guidelines outlined in this diet plan might seem challenging or intimidating to readers, it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it.

Another important part of ketogenic dieting is the concept of net carbs. This calculation is as follows: (Net carbs = Total carbohydrates – Fiber). For example, a medium-sized zucchini has about 6g of total carbs and 2g of fiber. That means that a medium zucchini has 4g of net carbs. Ideally, you should shoot for somewhere around 20g of net carbs/day when starting out.

If you’re looking to clean up your diet, or for an effective way to manage your weight long-term, this strategy might be for you. As always, you should consult a health-care practitioner before beginning any diet program. For many, this diet may not be appropriate and you should make sure you meet the right health criteria before starting.  Also worth noting is that weight loss is not the end-all-be-all marker of overall health. It’s still very important to make sure your body is getting the right nutrients that it needs to work, which it might not be getting just through diet alone.

In the spirit of October, here’s a link to a great holiday keto-friendly Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake worth giving a try this season.   Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Dr. Joseph Little, D.C.
October 18, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

20 Ideas For The Best Fall Ever!

20 Ideas For The Best Fall Ever by Real Wellness Doc

Fall Family Fun

Everyone knows that I am a summer lover.  I love the sunshine and the heat.  I love beaches and swimming and wearing flip-flops.  But, autumn is in the air.  The leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter and the air is getting cooler.  Snow will be here before we know it.

When the weather gets colder, we find ourselves in the house much more.  We sit and watch TV.  We snuggle on the couch.  We don’t go outside and exercise.  We get a little lazy and a little depressed.  But I have decided that I am not going to let that happen this Fall.  I am going to enjoy the change of seasons.  So, I came up with some fun activities I am going to do.  Here are some of my ideas:

Continue reading 20 Ideas For The Best Fall Ever!