Each year, on 11 November, the country falls silent to commemorate our war dead. This ritual, and the ceremonies and symbols that accompany it, have become part of national life.
Remembrance started long before the guns of the Western Front fell silent with people marking the loss or absence of loved ones away at war. 100+ years later, the personal and political resonances of remembrance still stir strong emotions.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (1872 – 1918)
Halloween is one of the oldest surviving holidays, its origins going back thousands of years. Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts (A friendly bunch of People). The Celts were Nature Worshippers, and had many different gods, The Sun God being one of the most common ones, since the sun dictated when they would work,rest and play. The Celtic New Year was on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the “season of the sun” and the beginning of “the season of darkness and cold.”
On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet and light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.
When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.
The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”). The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.
So Happy Halloween, Merry New Year, Happy Samhain, and any other greeting you wish!!!