Monday, 31 October 2016

Summer's end and the aos sí

To the pagan Celts in ancient Britain, the festival of Samhain – summer's end – marked the end of the harvest season.

Many ancient Britains also believed this time of year saw a thinning of the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead – enough for supernatural beings to roam the earth. To the Gaels these creatures were known as aos sí – roughly translated as people of the burial mounds. (Female people of the burial mounds were bean sí, later pronounced banshee*.)

In the last few hundred years these two beliefs have combined to see us carving gourd vegetables from the harvest (and later just pumpkins) in an effort to ward off those restless spirits.

On Saturday I was a restless spirit myself, and only managed to get to the supermarket quite late, by which time, fortunately for me, they were practically giving their pumpkins away. The goofy vegetables were so cheap it would have been rude not to buy more than one, so I grabbed four, enough to make an entire family of the orange, border-warding jack-o'-lanterns. 

The upshot of all this is that for the next few days our house will be defended from the dead like a Mexican border would be if another certain, orange person were put in charge. Evil spirits beware. 

*Interestly for any Star Wars fans, the word , which became synonymous with these evil spirits, seems to be pronounced sith in its original Gaelic.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Todmiester, for fun I thought I'd contact you this way...

    Approaching the unknown

    I caught this puppy on Netflex…Though it is abit slow it did it’s best to be as creditable as it could….I’m a fan of Mark Strong. If I’m honest a little more action may have helped it along? Despite it’s less than sizzling reviews, it’s certainly a lot better than some of the whizz-bang scf-fi around?