The traditional European festivals of Hallowe’en, Samhain, the Feast of the Dead and All Soul’s Eve’ are celebrated on or around October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the seasonal equivalent of our May Day. Samhain, the hallowed eve’ (or Halloween) marks the true end of Summer and the beginning of Winter’s quarter of the year, the portion of the year dedicated to the night forces. Persephone assumes her role as Queen in the underworld and according to tradition, this is when the dead walk among us and return to their homes.
Celebrations honoring the dead, both departed loved ones and scary ghosts, are found as far back as ancient Egypt and within as varied cultural groups as the Iroquois and Huron in the New World, and the Celts, Romans, Britons in the Old. I haven’t found any evidence that Central American countries celebrated this holiday until after the Spanish Conquest but they’ve made up for lost time with their three day El Dias de los Muertas. All of these festivals take place between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, although the Huron festival was only celebrated every fifteenth year or when the tribe made a major geographical move, leaving behind the bones of the departed.
This year’s Day of the Dead festival will end with a total Solar Eclipse on November 3. It will be visible from the South Eastern part of the US. Check it out on Time and Date.com
Commemorate this time by listening to Mozart’s Requiem and lighting a candle to honor your ancestors, your teachers, those explorers who have gone before and who walk among us this night. Watch some movies dealing with the supernatural: The Wizard of Oz, The Gift, Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes, or Dead Again are some of my favorites.
Click here to read some great articles about Halloween, curses and zombies from Archeology Magazine.
Click here for local events from the Seattle PI.
So Mozart’s Requiem Mass is one of my favorite pieces of music in the whole world. Below is the complete Karl Bohm version from YouTube and it is beautiful, very lyrical and grand. We have several versions and the one of Peter Shreier conducting the Leipzig Radio Chorus from 1983 is actually the one I would recommend over this one so if you are looking to add it to your collection, get that one. I have listened to it hundreds of times and it still both gives me goosebumps and brings me to tears. I just looked it up on Amazon for you and … Interesting, I’m glad I’m not completely off base, it is considered good by much better informed listeners than I. Click here to read about the Schreier Requiem.