Halloween - Origins and Folklore.

October 28, 2021

Halloween - Origins and Folklore.

Welcome to our blog about Halloween, where you can discover some interesting facts and folklore.

 The origins of Halloween.

Halloween Limited Edition Felt bundle and Patterns 

 The origins of Halloween as we know it in the West comes from the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain. The Celts, from Ireland, to the United Kingdom, to Brittany, France, celebrated it as one of the most important seasonal festivals. Samhain - meaning “end of summer” (pronounced sow-in or sah-wane).

The custom of Halloween went to America in the 1840s with Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. Traditions such as suede, turnip, and later, pumpkin carving, went with them. Carving vegetables to make spooky Jack O'Lanterns was done to ward off evil spirits and became a tradition at this time of year.

The term Jack O'Lantern, meant a man with a lantern, or a night watchman, and referred to the mysterious lights sometimes seen at night over bogs and swamps. These ‘ghost lights’ came from decomposing plant matter that ignite when in contact with electricity or heat, and before people know what caused it, they told ghost stories to explain the mystery.

Stingy Jack, also known as Jack o' Lantern, is a mythical character from Irish folklore, said to have tricked the devil into an inescapable situation. Jack is now a secular Halloween prankster icon.

Today, Halloween is celebrated in many countries, including South America, but it would be disrespectful to confuse it with Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as this is a separate festival to honour the journey of the ancestors and loved ones to the afterlife.

 Owls and Halloween.

Folk Embroidered Felt Birds Book

There are many spooky Halloween associations with owls.

Since long before the first Halloween, owls have been linked to witches and have long been seen as bringers of bad luck and even death. One myth tells us that bad luck will befall anyone who hears an owl hoot three times.

According to folklore, owls are the only creatures that can live with ghosts, so if an owl is found nesting in an abandoned house, the place must be haunted.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though - the Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia believe that owls are the spirits of women and are therefore sacred, while in Brittany it was a good sign to see an owl on the way to the harvest as it meant that it would be a good yield that year.

Owls are immensely helpful to us as they control the population of mice, rats, and slugs and this makes them the perfect night watchmen.

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night traditions.

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is celebrated on November 5 in Britain. This Traditionally commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot on the Houses of Parliament in1605. Guy Fawkes was not the leader of the Gunpowder Plot but he was the first of the conspirators to be arrested, on November 5, 1605. There is also a well know poem about the plot.

“Remember, Remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason, why gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot!” - Taylor Gibbs.

Until recently, children in Britain made ‘Guys’ and went out asking for ‘a penny for the guy’ to buy fireworks that would be ignited on Bonfire night to create a bright and colourful display, symbolizing the explosives used in the Gunpowder plot. Other traditions included small outdoor bonfires, apple bobbing and making toffee, today there are large organised celebrations in public parks.

Halloween is fast taking over Bonfire Night in Europe and is celebrated on a large scale by children, who dress up and go out trick or treating and by adults who celebrate it as a party night.

Free Craft Project.

Make a Felt Halloween Ginger Bread Man.

The materials needed are:

(Click on the materials links below to go to the products on the website )

Felt: Sand: 20 x 15 cm

Natural (white) and black: 5 x 5 cm

5 grms of toy filling

Black embroidery thread - code 310

2 small buttons

Narrow ribbon (about 6mm wide): 2 x 20 cm

Needle and scissors

 

For reference -  the body is 13cm tall.

Instructions:

1- Cut out the pattern and transfer to the felt by tracing around it.

Square patch - cut 1x in white and 1x in black - 1.5cm

White eye circle - cut 1x - 1cm diameter

Cut all felt pieces.

2- Cut a length of embroidery cotton and divide it to use only 2 strands.

Our sample was made with the brown thread but you could use any

colour you wish.

3- Decorate his body with a few scars by simply sewing a line of backstitch and

adding small stitches across.

Place a white patch on one knee and a black one on his bottom (on the back piece).

Sew them on with small stitches all the way around.

Add the little buttons on his front.

4- Take the back body piece and place the black ribbon folded into a loop at the top of the head (inside). Sew in place with a couple of small stitches. 

Place the front body on top so that the loop ends will be sandwiched between the two body pieces and sew around the body using a blanket stitch.

Fill with the toy filling before closing it completely.

5- Use the gingham ribbon to tie around the neck as a scarf. 

 

Happy Halloween and Bonfire night 😊

 Corinne and the team x

 




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