the roots of halloween

Like so many festivals we celebrate each year, Halloween has its roots in food and farming. It is derived from the Celtic festival of Samhain - an ancient harvest festival celebrating the yield from the land and the onset of the season of dark and cold. When the Romans invaded Britain their own version of the harvest festival, the feast of Pomona, was held on the same day. This was a celebration of Pomona, goddess of orchards and harvest. Inevitably, over time, these two traditional events merged into one big celebration.

By the 9th Century the Church was feeling a bit uncomfortable about the masses celebrating occasions that were devoid of Christian origins. So they eventually decided to move All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, from May 13th to November 1st to overlay the Roman and Celtic celebrations with Christian meaning. The day preceding it is The Eve of All Hallows and hey presto, Halloween was born.

The origins of the Jack-O-Lanterns are a little more uncertain. It is said that Jack was an Irish fellow who tended towards a very mean and miserly way. Not content to just be a miser old Jack played tricks on the Devil such as trapping him up an apple tree and releasing him only when the Devil agreed never to take his soul. When he died he was forbidden entry at the gates of Heaven. After failing in Heaven he tottered off to Hell expecting a warm reception and was denied access there too, as the Devil stood by his promise. He then had to wander the earth with a lantern waiting for judgement day. Traditionally Jack-O-Lanterns were carved from turnips (or Swedes and potatoes if your turnip crop failed). It was only after squashes and pumpkins were introduced from America that traditions understandably move on to the much easier to hollow out pumpkin.

Spooky Spectacular at Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre

Over 500 people visited the farm this weekend to pick their pumpkin. Every last pumpkin we grew, down to the tiny weeny ones has now found a home. But the celebrations continue. Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre (the visitor centre right in the middle of the farm) have two weeks of Halloween activities including Ghostbuster tractor rides and the haunted Watermill. Visit www.sacrewell.org.uk to find out more about what