October 30, 2008


When I was a girl Halloween was a very exciting holiday for most of us in our little village. You see I lived in a hamlet called Unionville in Ontario Canada. I remember a one thing very fondly. Mr. and Mrs Clarke Young were an older couple that really made holidays lovely for the town's children. They lived in a large brick house beside the railway tracks that went through the center of our town.

Well most of the children in town; the young ones in particular, made a beeline for the Young's house after only going to 2 or 3 other houses. I remember going up those large stone steps; as if I were pursuing the Holy Grail. Mrs Young would invite us into the vestibule and have us sit on the little bench. She and her husband would spend a few moments guessing what we possibly might be. Then she would rightly guess the obvious ones and feign being complete ignorance on the others. Well then she would tell us that because she hadn't guessed 100% she had better pay the price.

Mrs Young would leave us there with her husband to chat with us. He seemed to really enjoy guessing the ones she hadn't successfully figured out. A few minutes later, this lovely lady would be back with a tray of warm cider or hot chocolate and some kind sweet like chocolate chip cookies or chocolate brownies. As each child finished their 'lunch' they were given a treat bag full of goodies. Most years she made sure that everyone had a taffy apple, some english toffee, some mixed nuts, a couple of lollipops, some marzipan, an apple or orange and a small little toy each individually wrapped so they wouldn't get messy. More often than not we would find another couple of cookies or brownies too.

These lovely people had no children of their own so they made the village children their own in a small way. I don't remember a time; if I met her at the grocery store, at church, or another place around town that she didn't have a small conversation with me. She had the knack of really listening to you and making you feel as though you were the most important person in the world.

I rather think a lot of the other children felt this way about the Youngs. When Christmas time comes I think I shall tell you about the way she made it special for all of us.

I am glad to say, as I got older, I would visit with her in their yard mostly in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. On those days we would have little conversations and keep each other company for a little while. When her husband Clarke died she kept on with their traditions but everyone felt it wasn't the same without him. I can't quite remember but I think that she died around the time I was in my early 20's. It was at that time that our little hamlet seemed to grow and become part of Toronto. Nothing seemed quite right after Jean Young passed away in our village.


Thanks to the
Celtic people of pre-medieval Europe, we have Halloween. The Celts celebrated the end of the light half of the year with the festival of “Samhain” (pronounced sah-wen), which they observed during the October/November lunar cycle. Costumes and treats were a traditional part of the Celtic celebration. And while Samhain began as a strictly Celtic festival, it is probable that aspects of Roman religion were incorporated into its observance over the four centuries of Roman rule in Britain (43-410 AD). Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit trees and gardens. Her symbol was an apple. Some scholars believe this may explain how candied apples and bobbing for apples became associated with Halloween. Later with the early Christians, November 1 became All Saints Day or All Hallow's Day. The night before became All Hallow's eve.

As Christianity spread throughout the world, pagan holidays were either Christianized or forgotten. Samhain was absorbed into Halloween. Costumes and gifts and bobbing for apples were preserved, incorporated into the new holiday. They remain a celebrated part of Halloween to this day, many centuries later.

Now that is the history behind Halloween which I got straight off this site: http://www.allabout popularissues.org/origin-of-halloween.htm .