Day 18 ~ Thriller Thursday ;)

Artist: Hexsarash
It's a Thriller Thursday, Siren-lovers! We have a blog and giveaway for you from Pixie Allen that'll educate and entertain you. Of course, our usual craft, recipe and the song of the day all await you.. come jump in! The water's fine.. or.. is it? ;)

Today's Blog

from Pixie Allen of  Pixie's Musings

Welcome Wicked One's, thank you for dropping by my blog on this wonderful day.... Have you come especially to see me? Well luckily for you I have been doing some research into how other countries celebrate the festivities of Halloween and I think you will agree, it makes for a very interesting read.
Halloween is one of the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before. there's a simple reason: it is fun and it is good, clean, harmless fun for young and old alike! But; it’s much more commercialised and I personally find its much less about the actual meaning of the festival and more of a candy fest these days, but anyway....

First, Where it all started: Ireland
In Ireland, which is considered to be where Halloween, the day is still celebrated much like it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were centuries ago, and all over the country, children get dressed up in costumes and spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods. After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At the parties, many games are played, including "snap-apple," a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the "treasure." The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face down on a table with candy or coins underneath them. When a child chooses a card, he receives whatever prize is found below it.

A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater's future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as "knock-a-dolly," a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened.

Halloween in Other Countries!

In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. It was once believed that these would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night that Austrians considered to be magical.

The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross one's path and also unlucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.

Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O'Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.

In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bonfires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the "pretas" in order that they might ascend to heaven. "Pretas" are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of "pretas" among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the "pretas," which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.

In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member's spirit.

While the Irish and Scots preferred turnips, English children made "punkies" out of large beets (which they call beetroots), upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and asked for money (this is one thing I really dislike in this country about this night they knock for money hmmm not at my door people!). Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a few days later but recently it has been celebrated on October 31, in addition to Guy Fawkes Night. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also used as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the fire by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day.

However, in recent years, the American "trick or treating" custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pastime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the older generations and we are talking O.AP’s) have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers. However when they knock on my door they are met with me dond in my witches hat and broomstick with a cauldron bubbling over with sweet treats for them to collect. You know y’all wish you could knock on my door now lol.

Britain - Guy Fawkes day
On the evening of November 5, bonfires are lit throughout England. Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Halloween or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Halloween as Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation began to spread. It was on Halloween in 1517 that Martin Luther began to try to reform the Catholic Church. It ended in the formation of the Protestant Church, which didn't believe in saints. So they had no reason to celebrate the eve of All Saints' Day. However, a new autumn ritual did emerge. Guy Fawkes Day festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes.

Without Saints, there would be no All Hallow's eve, no Halloween and no partying, so in Britain, when a a conspiracy to blow up the English Parliament and King James I in 1605 was foiled, this became a convenient means to solve two issues at once. The celebrations that people were accustomed to just moved to November 5 and became Guy Fawkes Day. Guy Fawkes was not-too-bright accomplice who became the fall 'guy" (his name is also where we get the word "guy" from) in a Catholic plot to blow up the English Parliament, which at that time was Protestant. So, although technically, the celebration was to commemorate the failure of the plot, nonetheless, it was Halloween. Bonfires were lit across the country. People made lanterns from carved out turnips and children went begging for "a penny for the guy"(Only now they expect a penny to be a pound) (and they were to use the pennies to buy more wood for the bonfire upon which Guy Fawkes was to be burned alive. gruesome, huh? I knew you'd like that...

Halloween nowadays in the UK is celebrated separately from Guy Fawkes Night, as it should be! The thing that tends to get my back up about it is they come begging for money and I don’t like that, it’s no wonder so many people celebrate indoors themselves rather than going door to door and those that go out are usually met with closed up houses where people don’t want to be pestered by people who don’t want the offerings available. You can’t blame them, I wont take my children trick or treating, we have a party every year and we bake and make a feast and share the love and laughter, the room is filled with candles and lit pumpkins and we share the joy of the festival. We do it differently to most families over here but I wouldn’t change that for anything.

France - la fête d'Halloween
Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an "American" holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996. A combination of the French love of parties, fete's and costume events, and some simple crass commercialism has led to the rapid rise of the holiday in France.
The French had been hearing about Halloween from foreign residents and tourists and in their English classes for years before the holiday ever showed its (masked) face in France. In 1982, the American Dream bar/restaurant in Paris began celebrating Halloween. At first it had to explain the holiday to each customer, but since about 1995, French customers have tended to be more and more familiar with Halloween.
The Mask Museum in Saint-Hilaire-Saint Florent was opened by Cesar group in 1992, and the owners started working to expand Halloween in France the following year.

In 1996, the village of Saint Germain-en-Laye held a Halloween party on 24 October in the middle of the day, to give locals an idea of what it was all about.

Meanwhile, companies like France Télécom, McDonald's, Disney, and Coca Cola began using pumpkins and other Halloween images and ideas in publicity campaigns. This simultaneously increased French people's knowledge about Halloween and made it seem like another imposition of American culture.

How is Halloween celebrated in France?
Halloween in France is usually celebrated by costumed people of all ages going to parties at friends' homes, restaurants, bars, or clubs. The costumes themselves tend to be traditionally "scary" - mummies, ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires - rather than the cute costumes like princesses, superheroes, and the cartoon character of the day which are popular in the US. Trick-or-treating is extremely rare; when it does exist, it is not from house-to-house, but from store-to-store.

Stores, malls, restaurants, offices, and homes decorate their windows; pastry and candy shops make up special desserts and candies; and many different kinds of companies use Halloween in their ads. Supermarkets sell pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns and candy companies are now marketing candy in the traditional Halloween format: one big bag filled with lots of little packages, which may encourage trick-or-treating.

Traditionally, pumpkins are not a popular food in France, so the high demand for jack-o'-lanterns during Halloween has been a boon for pumpkin growers. There is even a pumpkin patch at a farm outside of Paris where people can pick their own.

Halloween in France is rather controversial, due to the perception of corporate and cultural influence, as well as the fact that it is not a typical French holiday and some people still don't understand what is being celebrated. Because Halloween is seen as an American celebration, some French people refuse to enjoy it, having decided to include it in their anti-American boycott. It's too early to tell whether Halloween will develop into a long-term tradition; once the novelty wears off, it may turn out to be just a fad.

In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm to (or from) the returning spirits.

Hong Kong
The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as "Yue Lan" (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.

Japan does not celebrate a western-style Halloween. While most people here know a little about Halloween in the United States, with the costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating; very few know exactly when or how it's celebrated. The Japanese celebrate the "Obon Festival" (also known as "Matsuri" or "Urabon" and pronounced, "oh bone.) which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the "Obon Festival," a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. "Obon" is one of the two main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Traditionally, in rural areas where gravesites are in the neighborhood, the pathway from the graves to the home is swept clean, and a general house-cleaning is also done. Then, on the 13th, an altar is set up with various food offerings, and "welcoming fires" are set in front of the house and along the path to guide and welcome the spirits. People may even hire a priest to come and chant prayers. On the evening of the 15th "send-off fires" are lit, and the spirits return to their graves. People who spend o-bon away from their ancestral homes or live in the city usually just make a little token fire on their veranda or patio. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The "Obon Festival" takes place during July or August. region, festivals, food booths, and bon dances can be found in the evening, with lots and lots of people enjoying themselves. Even those who don't observe the religious rite outlined above participate in the festivals. You used to see many people wearing a yukata, a lightweight cotton kimono, but these days you usually only see a few girls wearing them.

In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as "Chusok." It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The "Chusok" festival takes place in the month of August.

Mexico, Latin America And Spain
Among New World Spanish-speaking nations, particularly Mexico and Aztec-influenced Latin America, Halloween is known as "El Dia de los Muertos." the days of the dead, a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31 and culminates on November 2. This is an ancient festivity that has been transformed throughout the years. It was originally intended in prehistoric Mexico to celebrate children and the dead. Mexican families remember their dead and the continuity of life. It is a joyous and happy holiday...a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls' Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. They bring picnics and sit around the grave sites sharing stories of the departed and feasting on foods such as spicy meat dishes, batter bread and lots of sweets; some shaped like skulls. The abundance of food, drink and good company creates a festive atmosphere along with recognizing the cycle of life by the interaction of the living with the dead. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico's oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.
In the villages, parades are held. People dress as skeletons and dance in the streets. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffin which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. Home feast are held and loaves of bread, "Bread of the Dead" are given. Inside the loaves are sugar skeletons or other items of death motif. This gift is more prized if the skull or skeleton is embossed with ones own name. The families also attend candle lit ceremonies in church and offer prayers. The whole celebration is about life from beginning to end.

In Sweden, Halloween is known as "Alla Helgons Dag" and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, "Alla Helgons Dag" has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint's Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.

It’s really been fascinating to see how other countries celebrate Halloween/Samhain and what their traditions are; so I ask you what’s your favourite way to celebrate the festival? Do you have any specific traditions? Does your whole family get involved or do you celebrate by yourself? I would love to hear how you celebrate, Leave me a comment below and let me know J
Bright Blessings

Pixie )o(

Today's Giveaway

It's a Thriller-Thursday, so Pixie's keeping you guessing. Here's what you'll need to do:
  • Go to Pixie's blog and comment. Ask her for details about this giveaway.  Come back, and let us know you asked. A bonus entry if you get the answer and post it :)
  • Follow us here.
  • Follow us on Twitter.
  • Like us on Facebook.
  • Blog about this giveaway.
  • Tweet about it.
  • Write about it on Google +

Remember, you have until 8pm EDT TOMORROW night to get your entries in. And, as always, your entries for today qualify you for the Grand Prize Giveaway at the end of the celebration!  We'll announce the winner of this giveaway on Friday morning. All winners are chosen by random number generation, so be sure that you write a separate comment for each of your entries!

You also have until 8pm EDT this evening to get in on yesterday's fabulous giveaway of 3 amazing books!

Today's Craft 

This one comes to us from BHG (Better Homes and Gardens)
I call it Frightful Fashion ;) Every witch person is wearing them now...
To make this witchy hat, start with a 3-7/8x8-7/8-inch plastic-foam cone.
Cut black silk flowers, leaving a 1-inch stem.
Beginning at the top, insert the flowers into the cone. (You could also hot-glue them to the cone.)
For the brim, cut an 11-12-inch circle from thin cardboard (a recycled cereal box works great) and paint it black; let dry.
Hot-glue the cone to the center of the circle and add purple flowers around the base of the cone. And, voila! You are ready for the runway (or is that broomway?)

Today's Recipe

This one comes from a book called Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2009, (pg. 241)

Black Cat Dippers with Pumpkin Pie Dip from Taste of Home
Taste of Home

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon honey
1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Black paste food coloring
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the pumpkin, confectioners' sugar, pie spice and honey; beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Roll out each pie pastry directly on an ungreased baking sheet to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. cat-shaped cookie cutter, leaving at least 1 in. between cutouts. Remove excess dough and reroll scraps if desired. Beat the egg, milk and food coloring; brush over cutouts. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cutouts.

Bake at 400° for 6-7 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Serve with pumpkin dip.

Yield: 2-1/2 dozen black cats(3 cups dip)

Today's Winner Announcement!

*drumroll please*  The winner of  the lovely Saga Cottage print is:............. (wait for it.....wait for it...)..........

Bella Foxglove!! 

Congratulations! Since Bella is one of the Sirens, we'll just ask her to get with Loren and do the shipping details :)  There are plenty more giveaways to come! Keep participating!

Song of the Day with Kestril Trueseeker

No doubt Marie Laveau had quite a notorious reputation! 

Off with you now.. go create a thrilling day, loves!


  1. Tweeted & Followed - Didn't see where to comment on Pixie's blog tho... Suggestions?

  2. I follow her blog, this blog, and I have shared on facebook and twitter. :)

  3. Yay! Omg! I feel so lucky! Thank you :D

  4. I commented over at Pixie's Musings! <3

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I follow Samhain's Sirens here on blogspot!

  7. I follow you sweet sistas on twitter!

  8. tweet about Samhain's Sirens!

  9. I follow us everywhere, and I follow Pixie as well!

  10. I tweeted!

  11. I blogged!

  12. And I just want to say that I love Dr. Hook!!!!

  13. Visited and commented on Pixie's blog, following her now too! Great post!
    FOllowing here. Liked on FB.

  14. I've left a message on Pixie's Blog asking about the give-a-way. (nekosensei)

  15. I'm following your blog. (nekosensei)

  16. I'm following you on Twitter. (nekosensei)

  17. I'm following you on Facebook. (Kathleen Bode)

  18. I tweeted about the give-a-way. (nekosensei)

  19. Thank you for sharing this information on how others view and celebrate Halloween.
    The world do diverse and interesting.

    I asked for a clue
    if no answer I will be blue
    but non the less
    I'll try not to be a pest

  20. Thanks for sharing the awesome Halloween information across different cultures. As someone who has lived in North America her entire life, I'm so used to the intense commercialism of Hallowe'en, so it's really nice to see it in different lights :)

  21. yeah, she commented back
    18 October 2012 11:03
    hey Lovely, so my giveaway is a 8x8 mixed media canvas of a sugar skull, its filled with texture and paints and small details the camera can't pick up, the picture is added to my post now if you want to take a look


    Not much of a posting I'm tired...Coffee is on.

  23. A truly fascinating post! I really enjoyed learning about what Halloween is in different cultures. Nerd Approved =D lol

  24. I asked Pixie about the giveaway over on her journal.

  25. I follow Samhain's Sirens :D XXX

  26. I visited Pixie's blog, and commented :D XXX

  27. I joined Pixie as a follower( good job you sent me as I thought I was already following her :S) XXX

  28. Hi there, I like your blog very much, just wanted to point out something: I am Spanish, and Spanish culture is quite different from Latin America. Our celebrations almost always differ, as well,thats why I dont get why they are so often presented together.

    Regarding Samhain and Halloween, Spain was inhabited by the celts (in fact most Irish people descend from the Milesians, Spanish shipmen) and Samhain was celebrated in our peninsula. It IS celebrated today, in Galicia it is called "Samaín".
    Some Spanish christians may visit the graveyard on this day or go to church. No parades, no altars, no picnics, nothing to do with Latin America traditions and racket. Some drinking-all-night-costume-parties, maybe :D

    Just wanted to add this piece of information,
    and thank you for your hard work in this blog ;)

    1. Hello Viento,
      Thank you for the update from your area of the world. As someone who is of Irish descent, I can say that while the Milesians did invade at some point, I think we'd be stretching it to say that most Irish descend from the Milesian branch of Celts. There were many different invasions, waves and tribes who could be an attributed ancestor, including the Greeks.

      Other than that, I want to thank you so much for sharing your tradition, including those of the Christians (who, of course, have derived their honoring the dead customs from the indigenous societies in which they invaded).

    2. Oh, sure, I´m aware of all civilitations which were in Ireland at some point, I said most Irish descend from the Milesians because of this article, actually


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.