Monday, October 14, 2013

Author Spotlight: Susan Fodor, Pt. 2

Okay, so, instead of a 'Meet Susan Fodor' post, I asked her to write another guest post. Why? Um, well, because she had to show extreme patience and explain  html, widgets, and some other stuff I barely understand. This was no small feat: me + technology = DISASTER & lots whining, followed by bursts of ugly crying. 

So, without further ado, I give you

Halloween Traditions
by Susan Fodor

I’m loath to admit it, but despite the fact that I’m a total festive holiday addict---I’ve never celebrated Halloween. I’ve never dressed up like a trampy Snow White, or had a candy hang-over on November 1st. Halloween is not really an event in Australia, our English roots tended to frown on All Hallows Eve. As did the English puritans who colonized Northern America, you can thank the Irish and Scottish immigrants for importing the holiday.

If you trust Wikipedia (which I totally do---you can trust stuff you read on the internet *sarcasm*) Halloween originates from the Celtic festival of Samhain “Summer’s End.” A special time of the year when the door to the Otherworld was left ajar especially for those spirits with a revenge list to re-enter the land of the living. If scary ghosts wanting to get revenge wasn’t frightening enough, there were also harmful fairies on the prowl. To ward off the Otherworldly creatures the people would light bonfires, which is where we get jack-o'-lantern tradition.

In response to the pagan holiday, the Christian church revamped Samhain into All Hallows Day (November 1), which made October 31 All Hallows Eve. It was a three-day celebration where people prayed for the dead to get out of purgatory and into heaven.

Christian’s would bake soul cakes during the event as a form of prayer, and poor children would go door to door to ask for the treats---do you see where this is going? Trick or treating has its origins in the soul cake tradition. The Christians also added the costumes. Since there were vengeful spirits on the prowl, people wore costumes during the three-day festival to stay safe. Smart thinking!

On an unrelated note, it was on All Hallows Eve that the Protestant Reformation began. Martin Luther the small portly monk made his way to the All Saints Church in Whittenberg and nailed his 95 Thesis to the door. Every year in Whittenberg they re-enact Luther’s ballsy actions. My dream is to be in Whittenberg in 2017 on the 500th year anniversary of the birth of the Protestant movement. It’s going to be epic, hope I see you there!

It was my visit to Budapest that got me interested in the history of Halloween. My aunt wouldn’t let me go out on Halloween because it was “unsafe,” but she couldn’t tell me why. The tradition lived on, despite the reasons being lost in history.

On the 1st of November we joined hundreds of people in the cemetery to lay flowers on the graves of loved ones. There were people everywhere! The traffic was so crazy, we had to park six blocks from the cemetery. There was a feeling of excitement, mingled with pain as we walked with the crowds toward the black iron gates that held the city’s dead.

It’d been sixteen years since I’d visited my grandfather’s grave, since that time, my grandmother had joined him. In my memory the whole cemetery had been grey muted tones, but as we entered, every grave was covered in bright bouquets, ribbons, balloons and soft toys. Everywhere I looked was bathed in festive color, including the trees.

We found the graves quickly and laid our flowers. My aunt tisked me for spending so much money on the bouquets, as she was sure a flower vendor would steal them off the grave and resell them. I tried not think about that as we reminisced about my grandparents.

Countless people pushed past us in varying stages of the grief process. Some who had lost their loved ones long ago, and those who had recently said goodbye. There was palpable sorrow in the air, but the thing that stood out to me was that we had all lost someone. No one walks through life untouched by pain, and sharing that day with so many people made me realize that there are others who understand my pain, to quote R.E.M, everybody hurts sometimes.

This October 31st around the world people will be celebrating Halloween in various ways. I hope yours is happy and that you get lots of candy, whether you’ll be visiting a grave-yard or going trick-or-treating.

But should things go pear-shaped---your costume won’t fit or you eat so much candy you hurl in the neighbours yard. Remember, that you’re not the only one, somewhere, someone else is going through a similar or the same situation. You are not alone, you matter, and even if your Halloween is lacklustre, there’s always Thanksgiving to look forward to.

 I loved this, and it's one of the things I love most about this time of year: if Halloween doesn't pan out, you have Thanksgiving; if Thanksgiving is a bust, Christmas is just around the corner--and Christmas can never disappoint, not really...not with cookies, Christmas movies, and Bing Crosby (I may love him a bit too much).

Susan Fodor is the author of Silver Tides, her debut young adult urban fantasy novel. A dreamer. Wife. Mother. Friend. Dessert enthusiast. Theologian (Pastor). Australian. Bi-lingual (Hungarian/English). Passionate.

 Overly involved with fictional characters.

Avid supporter of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Has eclectic taste in music, food, and clothing.

Enjoys taking random photos of Tuvok her cat.

And always has time to look for the best in people.

For release dates, contests and random musings:-

Dive into Silver Tides on Amazon

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