Samhain and Day of the Dead

family of the dead
Woo-hoo! This has been an epic publishing month for me. About a year ago I noticed that a local magazine was looking for writers and applied. They responded and asked what sort of subjects I would like to write about. Then nothing… As soon as I returned from Glasgow in August I received an email from the Editor asking if I could write an article about Halloween with a short deadline. I suggested starting with a history of Halloween and then listing all the local festivals. I have rarely worked so hard – phoning everyone from church secretaries to Resort Managers to get the precise details of events. Yesterday the magazine arrived and it looks fabulous – laid out in a way that just delighted me. They even used my photograph from last years Renaissance Festival. There has been some problems associated with Halloween here, not helped by stupid movies. Some more conservative churches don’t like the witchcraft angle or the sexy costumes (I love the sexy costumes)… Latin Americans have felt that the commercialism of Halloween has taken away the spirituality of their Festival, Day of the Dead. I tried my best to address this in a light but informative way.

This is the first part of the article and a link to the online version of the magazine which unfortunately does not have the wonderful layout of the printed version.

Scary and not-so-scary fun is on its way to The Woodlands to celebrate autumn and Halloween. Did you know that Halloween has its roots deep in the old country? Samhain was likely a pre-Christian festival, celebrated in the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. The date was around the time of the autumnal equinox, and it marked the passing of the lighter nights into the dark of winter. Celts have always been superstitious and believed that otherworldly creatures, such as fairies and spirits, were visible on Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve. The spirits could also see us, which is why we dress up in costumes to disguise ourselves.

Over the years, the dates of Celtic festivities have changed, usually to mesh with the Roman calendar. It is a similar story with the Mexican and Latin American festival Dia de Los Muertes — Day of the Dead. Originally the festival, which may have its roots in Aztec history, took place in the summer and was a commemoration of the souls that had passed on. After the Spanish invasion, the date was moved to coincide with All Saints Day.

So let’s take a moment to honor our ancestors and then enjoy the many events in and around The Woodlands. We have perfect fall weather, still warm with less humidity. Go out there and have fun! Check websites for admission fees, more details and weather updates.

Click on the link to see the full article.

Texas Renfest

viking Look at that cheeky Viking face! This delightful barbarian was part of the daily procession at Texas Renaissance Festival 2014. We go every year, sometimes twice, and have a wonderful time. It is always held during Fall time at Todd Mission, a remote rural location, about 50 miles north west of Houston. The weather can be very hot as it was on this day or sharply cold as the Canadian fronts inch forward. The festival goers were mostly white some years ago but as our area has expanded and grown so has the diversity of the attendees. Everyone was delighted about a young family who were all dressed up for Day of the Dead which is the Mexican festival held at the same time as Halloween. This weekend was the Halloween theme so I got out my cat ears and my other half wore his satyr horns. Although it is in the middle of nowhere the facilities are disability friendly and I love to see people racing around in their motorized wheelchairs, especially when they get dressed up. Most people wear some costume, even if it is only a faux fur tail. One year I had prosthetic elf ears applied by one of the merchants – I loved them! I wanted to wear them to ‘school’ the next day… This post is all about the photographs so click on the red link and enjoy! TEXAS RENFEST, click here