The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Dateboook: October 31 – Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween! According Historian Nicholas Rogers the origins of Halloween are typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain,” derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning “summer’s end.” It was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.

Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Falling on November 1st and 2nd respectively, collectively they were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven. By the end of the 12th century they had become days of holy obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory and “souling,” the custom of baking bread or soul cakes for “all crysten souls.” It was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that the holiday was introduced to the United States in earnest. Initially confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-nineteenth century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the twentieth century it was being celebrated coast to coast.

It’s Monday, October 31

The Annual President’s Concert of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Murray State is dedicated to relief for Japanese Band Music programs which have lost facilities and instruments. Music begins at 7:30 p.m.tomorrow in Lovett Auditorium and includes Yasuhide Ito’s Gloriosa based on ancient melodies and chants. Donations are welcome at the door.

The City of Mayfield and downtown churches host an October Fun Fest tonight from 5 to 7. There’s a costume contest at 6 at the courthouse front. Broadway, South and 7th Streets are closed for the safety of trick or treaters. First Baptist provides hot dogs and drinks for kids.

Author Sam Kean is this year’s Gary Boggess Distinguished Lecturer with a presentation tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in Room 1212 Jones Hall. His 2010 book The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements has earned acclaim.

About 250 station friends pledging at will meet the fundraiser goal. Please contribute today. Thanks.

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