Monday, October 31, 2016

The Origins of Halloween From Sacrifice to Celebration

While many of us look forward to the fun of costumes, parties and candy on Halloween, current day traditions are quite the departure from the true origins of Halloween. Halloween’s origins date back over 2,000 years and began in sorts with the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The Celtic New Year and was celebrated on November 1. This day was the unofficial mark of the end of summer and the beginning of fall harvests. The ancient Celts believed this specific time of year, as the daylight began to lessen and the air began to cool, that it was a sign of human death. This belief culminated into a focus on the night before the Celtic New Year, where Celts believed that on October 31 the veil between the living and the dead became blurred -- when the ghosts of the dead could return to walk among the living causing mayhem.

In order to ward of such terrible happenings, the festival of Samhain was celebrated with huge bonfires, where Celts would gather in costume and sacrifice animals to Celtic Gods. Throughout history, various ancient peoples have looked upon this time of year with similar beliefs. Around the fifth century, The Romans celebrated Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead and today, we celebrate All Hallows Eve … Halloween.

To help Pop Culture Shockers celebrate Halloween 2016 -- after the children have finished their “trick and treat,” I am passing along a lovely adult treat from Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky.

Death Takes a Holiday

  • 2 oz Black Bottle Scotch
  • 1/2 oz Lustau Oloroso Don Nuno Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
  • ½ oz Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Chai Cinnamon Syrup
  • Tablespoon Pumpkin Puree

Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker. Shake with ice. Double strain into a coupe or cocktail glass.

For Chai Cinnamon Syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and water with 4-5 cinnamon sticks and 3 good quality chai tea bags. Bring to a boil. Once finished, add the tea bags and let them sit for about 20 minutes before removing. Leave the cinnamon sticks in a bit longer but discard them before refrigerating. The syrup should last about two weeks.

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