Happy All Hallows Eve, We love Halloween. From a cultural perspective, it’s a fascinating holiday. October 31st originally marked the end of the Celtic year, when the Celts celebrated the festival Samhain, pronouced Soh-ween, which was the ancient Celtic Day of the Dead. It was on this last day of the year that the Celts believed those who had died during the rest of the year travelled to the afterlife. To help them find the way, their relatives lit bonfires and offered animal sacrifices to the gods. It was a special day of remembrance, but also a time when fairies and other magical creatures roamed the darkness, mingling with the ghosts. It would not acquire its “demonic” association until the arrival of Christian missionaries, who branded the festival evil and strove to wipe out Samhain and other Pagan festivals. As you dress for your favorite costume party, remember that November 1st was to the Celts what January 1st is to our culture. So…Happy New Year! For a nice synopsis of Halloween and its traditions go to the web site of the American Folklife Center: www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html . Best Wishes, Michael and Kathleen