A time for costumes, a time for trick or treating, a time for the genocide of pumpkins and a time for candy and alcohol.
We all know about Thanksgiving – the Indians (not us, the other lot….we have never given anyone anything for free; when the first white men came to us, they didn’t even get a discount) gave the Pilgrims turkeys and the pilgrims gave the Indians tuberculosis, cholera, jaundice and malaria.
We know Christmas – basically a celebration of the winter solstice.
We know Diwali [Sankrit – Deepa (lamp) and avalli (rows)]
We know Easter – the day the Carpenter came back, allegedly from the dead.
But what about Halloween? And what’s the deal with the dead? Logically speaking, the day to celebrate dead people should have been Easter…instead we get the damn bunny.
Halloween is literally All Hallows’ Evening…..and no not the Deathly hallows from Potterverse, but rather the Hallowed lot from Christianverse, or in other words Saits. So its basically a day for Saints (and Martyrs).
So far so good…..but why?
Well, many historians, anthropologists and other learned people claim that it is actually a continuation of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
So what is Samhain?
Literally Summer’s End
And why on 31st October ?
Coz that’s more or less halfway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice.
Now when the Christian preachers came to Celtic lands and started spreading the message, they figured out that just banning the Celtic practices would never work (so in a way they were much much much smarter than the Kerala government who thought banning alcohol would work). So what they did was basically to adopt the practices and adapt them with Christian meaning and symbolism.
On feature of Samhain was that the Celts believed that on that day, the fairies and spirits could come to our world.
They called the fairies AoS Si…(say it aloud people Aos Si, Hallow’s Eve)
The AOS Si were ancient gods and thus had to be pleased with offerings, especially on days where they could come to our world. So, on Samhaim, people prepared their houses and kitchens/tables etc with food and drinks so that when the spirits visit, they could be fed.
That’s not all. During medieval times, it was a standard practice in Ireland and Scotland for people to dress themselves up in costumes and go house to house singing verses….in exchange for food.
In England, poor children used to go door to door and offer to pray for the departed in exchange for food.
So now you know about the trick and treat.
But what about the pumpkins?
Well, in Scotland and Ireland, where it gets dark pretty quickly, especially on 31st evening, the people used to curve out turnips and beats and use them as lanterns to light the way while they went door to door.
So, you see, everything has roots in Celtic practices.
During every Diwali, the slum dwellers of Sitafalmandi get up, take their bath, dress in their finery, get totally pissed and then go off to the nearby cemetery and sing, dance and talk at the top of their voice, and then eat and light candles and lamps.
So how did the Celts somehow manage to influence Jai Telengana people?