People from around the world are familiar with the American festival of trick or treating also commonly known as Halloween. However, this is not an American occasion and has its roots firmly in Europe with a version of the holiday dating back as far as Roman times with the Roman feast of Pomona who was the Roman goddess of fruits and seeds, together with the festival of the dead which was known as Parentalia when people celebrated life with food and wines.
Historically, in Britain, we are more familiar with the Pagan festivals held by the Celts and Gaels going as far back as the first century which were to celebrate the end of the Summer in a festival called Samhain and where people would give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would hopefully provide food to see the villagers through the long winter months when fresh food would be scarce.
The theme from these early Pagan festivals developed into the early Christian holy days of All Saints Day on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd, where the church believed that incorporating older Pagan traditions into the new church would make for an easier transition to the new ways. These holy days involved Christians wearing masks so that the dead would not be able to recognise them and keep them from harm. This can still be seen every year in the costumes and masks worn by trick or treaters all around the world.
The tradition of carrying lanterns by the early Christians has also been continued today in the form of Jack o Lanterns and carved out pumpkins with face shapes in the sides which then have small tea lights inserted in the middle to give a spooky glow to them.
Halloween certainly signifies the beginning of the long winter months and falls just a couple of weeks before we in the UK put back the clocks an hour, when British Summertime officially ends and Greenwich Mean Time returns until the following Spring time.
With so much of our history and tradition involving celebrations and festivities, it’s good that many people today who are not religious, still use this time of year as a good excuse for having parties with family and friends and holding parties when once again there can be free flowing wines and an abundance of food to celebrate another prosperous and bountiful summer.
Red wines, white and rose wines all personify the meaning of harvest when the grapes have been grown and fermented into a resulting delicious bottle of wine. Wine growers in California and other parts of the world celebrate a good year’s work in winegrowing by throwing parties for all the workers in the vineyard and enjoy the fruits of their labour with bottles of the vineyards wines, from Merlot to Pinot Grigio. wine tours Willamette Valley