November is an odd month. A million years ago I worked in the travel business and I hated November. It was ‘the dead month’. Work was so quiet and so the days were long and boring. Nothing defined November except tedium. No bank holiday to cheer us up and the Christmas social whirl was still weeks off. It was like the big anti climax after the fun of Halloween.
And I have always loved Halloween. My childhood memories are dressing up every year as a gypsy with swirly skirt and big hoop earrings and of the excitement of wandering around the neighbourhood in the dark. The air was full of the smell of damp leaves and smoke with the faint tang of gun powder or whatever it is they put in bangers! I loved it all. And I still do. Halloween is an ancient celtic, pagan feast and although it has been somewhat Americanised with sophisticated decorations and readymade costumes, its essence still links us with our past and those who have passed. Halloween to me has always been the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
And so as we get over Halloween, the Catholic Church borrows from this ancient past and makes the month of November the month of All Souls – the month for remembering our relatives and friends who have left this world for the next.
So I hope you embraced Halloween and had great craic. And as November arrives take a minute and give thanks for those whose lives touched yours. Make a little time to talk to your children about their grandparents and others who may no longer be with you. November is a quiet month which allows us that pause to honour the past and those who inhabited it with love.
Dylan da dog, spent the evening trying to work out if he was delighted at having people call to the house or terrified of the noise of fireworks and bangers outside!
In the end he took up a post on the armchair in the hall, where he could mind the sweets and get a glimpse of who was at the door without risking his personal safety!!
My inner child still loves Halloween and I don‘t know what I will do when my own kids (the two hippies pictured above) decide they are too old for it all and I am embarrassing them by still decorating the house!
And finally, how cool is it to have a Birthday on Halloween? Very cool – Happy Birthday Roisin who turned 11 on Saturday – she is the hippie in the big hat!