Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lets get spooked!!

As an ode to Halloween, Aalayam brings you a favorite emotion, well plated and curated in cultural relevance - Fear!!

Spooktacular imagery! From Deepa's lens

Let's admit it, we like being scared, we like putting ourselves in those situations that cause panic, increase our heartbeat, make us shudder, and stretch our realm of imagination. We love gathering around a bonfire and listening to ghost stories. We love nuzzling close to our date as we watch a horror flick! Do we? Or not?

Of course we do! We love the adrenaline rush, the goose flesh, the thrill of being scared! Of vicariously experiencing what’s forbidden, bizarre or dark! Some people avoid that emotion altogether, but I know I love watching a good supernatural flick  or engaging in some "this happened to me" storytelling  that makes me wonder, if there are spirits out there, wandering around for deliverance! 

So, in the honor of Halloween (Oct 31st) here in the USA, lets get well and truly spooked, shall we?

First of all, the Halloween legend!

Halloween trivia! From Deepa's lens

According to my sources, Halloween is celebrated on the evening of October 31st, which is the evening before the Christian feast of All Saint’s Day. Halloween’s history goes back to the ancient religion of the Celtic tribes (circa 500 B.C.) from whom came the Britons, Scots and the Irish. Present day Britains, Scots, Welsh and Irish are all descendants from these ancient Celtic tribes.

The Celts worshipped nature and believed in the spirit world. They worshipped over 300 gods. Their chief god was the sun and they celebrated two festivals revolving around the sun: Beltane, to mark the beginning of summer and Samhain or Saman to mark the start of winter.

The Celts believed that at the end of summer, Samhain, the lord of death becomes powerful and overpowers the sun god. On October 31, Samhain assembles all the evil spirits who had died the previous year and allows them to return home to visit the living.

On October 31, after the harvest, the druids would meet under an oak grove or near large stone circles where they performed sacrifices. Some believe that the Stonehenge in England is one such druid circle. The priests would light great fires and offer sacrifices to Samhain to ensure that the sun returned after the winter.

What's the significance behind trick and treat? From Deepa's lens

During the night all fires except the sacrificial one to Samhain were extinguished. The Vigil of Samhain, as it was called, would keep the sacrificial fire on through the night and the next day embers from this fire would be used to light the fire in each household.

Villagers would try to appease goblins and demons with offerings of food and nuts. They would leave little treats that the household had to offer, to satisfy the hunger of these demons. If the demon was satisfied with the treat, it was believed it would not trick the person or cast an evil spell. Therein lies the origin of the present day trick or treat.

Guess who this is! Who is this man in Halloween costume? 

History & folklore is rife with stories about vengeful ghosts, good ghosts, and kindred spirits roaming around. Sharing this world with us. 

My favorite lore is that of "Mohini" or the Churel, a banshee ghost in the folklore of India—which is renowned for its scream. Usually taking the form of a woman, a Churel is said to be a vengeful ghost that returns to the land of the living as a vampire-like creature, bent on revenge!

Often found in the wilderness, a Churel has feet which are flipped 180 degrees, (ah, that was a detail, my grandmother never failed to mention in her ghost stories) allowing her to walk backwards while she mesmerizes the victim! If her gaze is not shunned, usually through a cloth or blanket over one’s own eyes, she will lead the victim to a secluded location and drain them of their blood!

I always wondered, why ghost stories were so sexist, growing up! But I guess that's a conversation for another day!!

Don't look behind you!!! From Deepa's lens

Well, I hope we got spooked enough in this post! Just enough for it to be thrilling! What are your favorite ghost stories? Do you believe in the supernatural? 

Lets talk!

Stay safe this Halloween!!

Love,
Supriya
p.s. I hope I have not offended any spirits out there. Sorry guys, just talking about you...no offense intended! ;)



1 comment:

  1. gosh those are truly scary images :) Halloween looked stunning!!

    ReplyDelete