Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Halloween Factoids....Have Bats in Your Belfry?


It is now the time of year I start feeling every muscle and bone in my body going through its process of mourning the end of summer. Time to get out the stylish sweat pants with the elastic waist and the baggy sweaters and sweatshirts. AAAh....at least they're comforable.  This time of year I can wear my supphose with impunity...nobody will see them...
Halloween Pictures, Images and Photos

After I've finished putting away the tank tops and shorts and reloading my drawers with the aforementioned 'fashions', I've got to shop for the Halloween snacks and start my holiday shopping lists.

I was thinking about Halloween this morning and went searching for some factoids....I came up with a few.....
Flying Bats 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

If someone says you have 'bats in your belfry'...say thank you since it would mean you have bats in your yard (if you don't have a bell tower), where they eat about 1,000 mosquitos for a meal.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

There are more than 1,000 species of bats in the world! They live on every continent of the world, except Antarctica. Bats do not live in areas where it is very hot or very cold.

To catch insects, bats use their wings. Their wings are the only part of their bodies not covered by hair, but with thin, tough skin. Bats use their wings like hands, and they have little thumbs and wrists on them.

Bats have long been associated with Halloween but the connection is less skeery than some would suspect. In Halloween's ancient origins people would gather together around giant bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Attracted to the warmth and bright light of these fires were many small flying insects. Natural food for hungry bats. People saw the bats flickering in and out of the firelight during the festivals and they became a feature of Halloween lore. They are the only true flying mammals.

Ever used the saying 'blind as a bat'?  I have, but guess what?  They aren't blind..

Our modern celebration of Halloween is a descendent of the ancient Celtic fire festival called "Samhain". The word is pronounced "sow-in (rhymes with cow).

Folk tradition tells us of many divination practices associated with Samhain. Among the most common were divinations dealing with marriage, weather, and the coming fortunes for the year. These were performed via such methods as ducking for apples, and apple peeling.

Ducking for apples was a marriage divination. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year.   I'll bet there's some folks out there wishing they hadn't been in that early apple bobbing event!

Apple peeling was a divination to see how long your life would be. The longer the unbroken apple peel, the longer your life was destined to be.

In Scotland, people would place stones in the ashes of the hearth before retiring for the night. Anyone whose stone had been disturbed during the night was said to be destined to die during the coming year.


Then we have Jack O'Lanterns.......

Pumpkin carving is a popular part of modern America's Halloween celebration. Come October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. Despite the widespread carving that goes on in this country every autumn, few Americans really know why or when the jack o'lantern tradition began. Read on to find out!

The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.
History of Halloween


If you have begun your holiday shopping list, you probably should check out Online Auction .

There are a few sellers that have even some Haunted Houses for Halloween....definitely give them a look.....
Fleapirates Plunder


Jaswood Antiques and Collectibles

Stubsinc Primalwares

Debs Variety Shop

Don't forget to check out my haunted house...Supergrannys Treasures




Aesthetics48 said...

Beets,turnips,potatoes??? I never knew those were carved before the ol' pumpkin! Interesting piece of little history there. Like a always say, never to old to learn. :)

Eileen Williams said...

Dear Super Granny,
As always, you've amused and amazed!
Having often confessed to "bats in my belfry," I'm thrilled to learn I was giving myself a compliment. And "blind as a bat," my middle name, I now consider a compliment, too.
However, I do have one additional question to pose: I heard long ago that mascara was made from bat excrement. If that's true then people in the cosmetics industry must be more than a bit batty--and that's no compliment!

Dr. Dave said...

Bats are very cool. I often sit out at dusk with a drink just to watch them come out and start their dance across the backyard.

Fleapirates said...

I did NOT know that about Jack O'Lanterns!

Wow! Cannot even imagine carving a beet! ROFLOL!

And ooh, never heard of the stones in the hearth... that is spooky!

Thanks for another entertaining post, SG!

maggiemaybecrafty said...

Ahh a lady after my own heart, jeans & t-shirts or sweats depending on the weather, my wardrobe of choice. Dont'cha hate it when people that try to stuff you into glad rags? No matter how nicely they try to put it they are telling you that you dress like a slob. Maybe so, but I'm a comfortable slob.

Supergranny said...

Eileen, not to worry about the mascara and the bat guano...they boil it first and/or may use fish scales and chicken lips in our cosmetics....

Supergranny said...

Dr Dave, years ago we were traveling through Tonopah, NV, and had stopped at the rest stop. We sat on a picnic table for quite some time enthralled with the small bats swarming around the light...what a sight...their diaphanous wings looked so beautiful and fragile...we enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the comment.

Supergranny said...

A's, have you started carving your turnips....uh, I mean....pumpkins yet?

Supergranny said...

Mags, all I have to do to feel 'dressed up' in my sweats and sweatshirt is put on some big earrings! I'm ready to receive the best company....I can get away with that...one advantage of being truly vintage...at the worst they'll think 'oh, she's old and eccentric!' You know what? they're right:)

RaggyLady said...

Supergranny love the pumpkin story!

Supergranny said...

Raggy, thank you..can't wait to get the yummy chocolate halloweeen treats you make for my grandsons!!