A brief history of Halloween
The word Halloween is a shortened version of Allhalloween or All’s Saint’s Eve and is observed on October 31st in many countries (on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day). There are two theories as to the source of the holiday’s origin. One theory is that the holiday is left over from the Celtic harvest rituals, particularly from the Gaelic festival, Samhain. Proponents say the Early Church may have Christianized this festival. Others believe the holiday is entirely of Christian origin- being the vigil of All Hallow’s Day. This the time in the Church Year dedicated to remembering the dead.
In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve involves attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead. In past years it was generally believed that Samhain marked the beginning of the year where the barrier between our world and the Otherworld (the realm of Gods and the dead) thinned. Spirits and fairies were then able to travel between the two worlds more freely. Activities were structured to appease these traveling spirits. Traditional celebrations included mumming and guising (similar to modern day trick or treating). Early celebrants were known to blacken their faces with paint or ashes from their sacred bonfires to impersonate these spirits for protection or set extra place settings at the dinner table in a welcoming manner. These activities have since evolved to more conventional traditions of carving jack-o’-lanterns, apple bobbing, pranks, horror films, trick or treating, and attractions like hayrides, corn mazes, and haunted houses.
Christians have historically abstained from eating certain foods on All Hallow’s Eve. This has led to celebrations including vegetarian based foods rather than meat. In the United States, candy apples were commonly given to trick-or-treating children. This practice was stopped with widespread rumors (perpetuated by mass media) that some people were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples. While there is evidence of such incidents, actual cases of it happening are extremely rare and have never resulted in serious injury. In the past some hospitals offered free X-rays of children’s Halloween candy to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children’s candy. Marijuana candy warnings have become the new “razor blade” scare tactic parents receive every year. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred, and cannabis medication is usually easily distinguished from regular candy.
One custom in Ireland that continues today is the baking of a barmbrack, which is a light fruitcake. A plain ring, coins, and other charms are placed inside before baking. It is considered fortunate to be the lucky one who finds it when eating. It has also been said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year. Other foods in Ireland that are commonly associated with Halloween include monkey nuts and colcannon. In the UK, participants often celebrate by making bonfire toffee or soul cakes. A soul cake, also known as a soulmass-cake, is a small round cake which is traditionally made for Halloween to remember the dead in the Christian tradition. The cakes (referred to as souls) are given out to soulers who go from door to door singing and saying prayers “for the souls of the givers and their friends.”
Halloween and the tradition of celebrating our loved ones who have passed on is upon us. However you choose to celebrate, we hope you have a fun, safe holiday. Stay safe and stay medicated with holiday recipe suggestions to follow.
Cannabis Gummies: follow this recipe and use your favorite Halloween gummy molds like the ones found here to start your fright fest off right! An easy, cannabis-infused gummy recipe is found here.
Try your hand at baking your very own “soul cake.” Or try making a fun barmbrack, aka “brack.” Just add your chosen trinkets to the batter before baking (cleaned and oven safe of course). Make sure to tell your fellow ghouls and goblins to watch for your trinkets ghostly appearance when eating to assure no choking….or unfortunate swallowing and loss of said trinket- until recovered after digestion….
On that note, Happy Halloween from all of us at CannaCook.com!
Written By: Melissa Cornwell