HarvestFest Halloween History

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The Third Annual HarvestFest in historic Downtown Tipp City will be Saturday, October 31 (the Day itself!) from 7-11 PM, rain or shine.  Beer and soft drinks will be served. You must be 21 WITH PROPER ID to pick your poison. Beer, and soft drinks will be available, as will commemorative posters and other items. Come in costume to save $2 off admission and compete in our costume contests! The Tippecanoe HarvestFest is presented by the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

We are proud to announce that Dirtybone, a fine local band with the perfect Halloween vibe, will be entertaining us with great rock covers in a party atmosphere.  Dirtybone draws a great, festive crowd and will be a very welcome addition to what is becoming a Tipp City Tradition.

Here’s some HarvestFest Halloween History:

Halloween has its roots in the ceremonies and festivals used to mark the Autumnal Equinox in many ancient European cultures, especially the Druids of western Europe and the British Isles. The Druids had no written language, and most of the information that survives about their religion and their holidays was recorded by the Romans, who may have embellished the more barbaric aspects in order to justify the way they forcefully suppressed the Druids’ religion.

Much closer to our time and our culture, the two religious holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day became one of the most important times in the calendar of the early Christian Church, and coincided with the season of celebration and feasting that accompanied a successful harvest.  People in the pre-industrial age did not have many occasions to come together.  During most of the year, people had few opportunities to leave their own farms or villages. In winter, the weather was too bad, and in summer, people were too busy. The time between the end of harvest and the beginning of winter was special.  There were feasts and games between villages, which were an important opportunity for people to exchange news and get re-acquainted.

According to the tradition and understanding of many religious orders, the holiday represented a special time when the souls of the departed were in transition. During this time, the dead might become lost, might wander the earth to visit their loved ones, and might need help finding their way to heaven.  In some traditions, evil spirits might interfere by causing the dead to lose their way or make other mischief, and these evil spirits needed to be frightened away.  Customs such as bonfires in churchyards, torchlight processions, and all-night parties (in some places, church bells were rung all night long) made a welcome addition – and added an important religious element – to a time when people were already looking forward to getting together, mingling and celebrating after the hard work of bringing in the harvest.

It became a tradition in many places for people to offer food and drink to celebrants in return for their prayers for the departed. This led to people going door to door, often in costumes and carrying lights made from hollowed-out vegetables, to ask for treats.  Sometimes special pastries, called “soul-cakes” were baked especially for the holiday.  The festive atmosphere and the wearing of costumes often led to harassing and making fun of neighbors. In less rural areas, the All Saints/All Souls festival was the beginning of a season of costumed revelry that lasted until after Christmas.

Source:  Halloween, From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, by Nicholas Rogers

More updates and Halloween History coming up!

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