Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols (英語) ペーパーバック – 2000/8/21
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The late Edna Barth worked as a librarian, a teacher, and an editor of books for young people before becoming the author of many well-known books for children.
Most children wonder about the origins of Halloween. This book offers them just enough of the history to fascinate them and whet their appetites for more, but not so much that they will never want to read history again.
Did you know, for example, that the Celtic people, who lived more than 2,000 years ago in France and the British Isles, feared October 31, as the eve of their festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead? Celtic priests, called Druids, held fire rites at these times, at which they sometimes burned prisoners alive, to punish them and to predict the future. But Samhain was also a joyful festival, marking the death of the old year and the start of a new one. There are also brief sections on the history of fairies, Goblins and Little People. The book relates how the stories of these creatures came into being, and leaves open the possibility that they were real.
Barth also offers tasteful sections on the history of witches (whose sabbaths were joyful) and the Horned God, from Biblical times through the Middle Ages. She touches on the Christian war against the Devil and the witch-hunts of Germany, England and America. Finally, she relates that how the wicas of lore and yore became the respectable costumed revelers of modern-day Halloween.
Barth clearly had no intention of writing an exhaustive history. On the contrary, she intended to explain briefly, providing a nice lead-in to chapters on ghosts, toads, broomsticks and owls. To that end--fun--she also explains the Halloween colors of orange and black and current-day masquerades. She offers several not-too-scary Halloween stories and a set of wonderful Halloween recipes.
This book is great for kids who love Halloween--and want to know how it started.
---Alyssa A. Lappen