Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain, All Hallow's Eve and R.I.P. Challenge wrap-up

Happy Celtic New Year! :-)

Samhain is a Celtic festival that marks the end of summer and the beginning of the long cold season. It's all about the final harvest, preparing for winter and also about the dead. It was thought that the line between the worlds was especially blurry at Samhain and that magical things could happen.

I like thinking of Samhain as the start of a New Year and in the past we have marked this holiday in various ways. My favorite I think was a ritual of letting go of our baggage so that we could more forward. This involved writing what we wanted to get rid of on pieces of paper and throwing them into our fireplace. A bonfire would have been better but hey.

Halloween is the modern, secularised version of this old festival and I love the modern traditions too. Pumpkins and candy and scary things. And lovely little children going from door to door. What's not to love?

I already had some trick-or-treaters knock on my door on Saturday. I'm not sure they counted as lovely littel children, they were boys of about 12 or 13, they were not dressed up and they carried plastic chopping bags. They were going on holiday apparently and had to collect their candy a few days early. Lucky for them, I had just bought mini chocolate bars that morning. I forgot to decorate the house with all the spooky stuff I bought though. Ah well, you can't do it all, eh?

I can't say that I've been in the mood for much spooky reading this year. I think it has something to do with the fact that it's been around 20 degrees here lately, which really doesn't correspond to the atmosphere in which I wish to read my spooky books, i.e. in cold and rain and wind. While cozy inside obviously.

I did read some things that qualified for the R.I.P. VI challenge that Carl hosts each year:

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I'm not doing so well with reviews, but they'll come soon. In a nutshell: I loved The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley because I love, love, love Flavia de Luce; I'm enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse series; I didn't finish either Soulless or A Discovery of Witches, which is a surprise to me.

I love the R.I.P.  challenge but I didn't really give it much attention this year and now I regret it. I should have taken the time to curl up on the couch with a Wilkie Collins or some ghost stories. I'll have to remember that for next year.

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone!


Ana S. said...

Reading your post really made me want to revisit Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Possibly this makes no sense outside my head :P Happy Samhain! It's been strangely mild around here as well, which does ruin the mood a little bit.

Kailana said...

Happy Halloween! We have entered almost winter here, so we are actually in another season weather-wise...

Larissa said...

Happy Samhain a day late!
I was away until this afternoon (my posts were pre-written and scheduled), so I couldn't react on time.
I see what you mean with the temperature and the atmosphere, but I did buy (amon other things) "Dracula" yesterday in London...

joanna said...

Nymeth - I didn't know what Tam Lin was so looked it up and i think I'd like it!

Kailana - I'm sure real winter will be here soon enough anyway.

Larissa - I want to hear all about London!