All Hallows’ Eve – Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a very safe and happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Y’all know I love holidays in general, but the magic of Halloween has always placed it at the top. I also love that it kind of “kicks off” the other holidays of this time of year, making it even more special to me.

So, for today, I’m here to give a brief history of Halloween, as well as a few traditions!

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.”

Following Halloween is All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.

 

Now for some traditions!Soul Cakes

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead.

In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)

Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.

Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Wednesday’s Child Is Full Of Woe

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme that starts “Monday’s child is full of face?” Well, until just a couple of years ago (and I’m 31), my mom had always told me that I was born on a Tuesday. In this poem, Tuesday’s child was full of grace, which I loved. I long to have the grace of someone like Jackie Kennedy (my granny’s grace role model) or Duchess Catherine. I was always so proud of being a Tuesday’s child, especially since my brother decided to be born on Sunday, which, according to the poem, is the best day of all. Being a United Methodist, we are all about grace. So, it was a double whammy.

I’m here to tell you that 21 hours apparently does some funny things to your brain. My mom went into labor on Tuesday. I, however, did not make an appearance until Wednesday. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Sigh. (At least I’m keeping with my day).

Here’s the version of the poem I remember from my nursey rhyme books:

Monday’s child is fair of face. Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Thursday’s child has far to go. Friday’s child is loving and giving. Saturday’s child works hard for a living. But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

Like many things, though, the definition of woe has gotten a little changed over the years. Woe, in addition to sadness, referred to having empathy for others. My husband would say that part does fit me. Here’s what else I found interesting!

{There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had ‘Christmas Day’ instead of the Sabbath.[1][not in citation given] Despite modern versions in which “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper’s Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which “Friday’s child is full of woe”, perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday – as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday’s and Friday’s children’s role reversal, the fates of Thursday’s and Saturday’s children were also exchanged and Sunday’s child is “happy and wise” instead of “blithe and good”.[4]   }

I’d also be pretty happy being “loving and giving” with the role reversal shown here. However, I will say, that, as a United Methodist, one of the holiest services, in strictly my opinion, is that of Ash Wednesday. This poem, which I randomly thought of, reminds me of that Wednesday and the preparation of our hearts. I think I’m okay being a Wednesday’s child after all.

Thank you for reading! I think nursery rhymes, which are so simple on the surface, are filled with tradition, and I’m excited to get to go over a few in the next couple of weeks! Which ones are your favorites?

It’s Tea Time!

It’s Tea Time!

I’m so excited to offer a summer garden tea on Sunday, June 25th from 3-5 in the afternoon at The Oaks Bed & Breakfast. Due to the generosity of The Oaks, (side note: if you haven’t seen this absolutely gorgeous B&B, this is the perfect chance!) tickets are only $20!! This truly helps everyone who would like to attend to be able to do so. ALSO! I will be giving away a pair of tickets! 🙂 The winner will be announced on Friday, June 23rd. All you need to do it like and share the facebook posts OR comment on THIS post. Do BOTH for additional entries. You can share the facebook post daily for additional entries, as well.

This is also the PERFECT time for me to tell you about my first adult tea set.

The first real tea set I received was passed down to me from my Grandma and Grandpa Wilder.


(Shown in picture are my parents with my aunt, uncle and church friend at my last tea with my heirloom tea set)

Like most good tales, the story behind my Granny and Big Daddy Wilder is almost as real as they are. For many, many years I have loved New Orleans, which is where they lived. The food, the traditions – everything there is so unique to the area that it makes you fall in love with it all while making you feel home sick for a place you never lived. This tea set was a gift from Big Daddy to Granny Wilder before they were married for St. Valentine’s Day. Now that’s a good man. 🙂

One of the stories I heard about Big Daddy was that once a man was making a pass at Granny Wilder (she was very beautiful) while she was riding a street car. The next part of the story varied from Big Daddy telling him off to the man coming up missing with the Mississippi River nearby. Half of the appeal for me as a kid was not knowing where the truth ended and the tale began. And I think about this particular story every time I use these beautiful dishes.

Have kids who want to play tea? Check out these cute tea sets here!

Want one for yourself? I’m in love with this one!

Traditions and Recipes

(Birthday girls get birthday pie in the South)

Last night I made some pies for a rehearsal dinner. Every time I make pies now, it reminds me of my granny. She was the pie queen. Every single crust of hers was perfectly thin and flaky. Just enough of the filling would soak in to make it delicious and worth every calorie. Like most Southern cooks, she never measured; she just felt the give the mixture gave to let her know if more milk, sugar, etc. might be needed. It never mattered. They came out just right each time.I wish I had that talent. I, on the other hand, have scoured over a dozen recipes my granny had written down (just for chocolate meringue pie) to try to find one that remotely tastes like my granny’s did. Before she passed away, I had her try some, and she gave me pointers for improving it – let the crust bake for about 90 seconds longer, increase the temperature about 15 degrees. Suggestions like these. About six months before she passed away, she gave me the approval. But, truthfully, I think she said it to be nice. No pie could ever touch hers.

My mother-in-law has always joked that if someone asks for her recipe, she gives it to them with a minor alteration. Maybe a slight measurement change or missing an ingredient that isn’t vital to the dish. She said that way people think, “Hmmm, it just isn’t quite as good as when Jane Smith made it.” However, I truly believe that it never is the same anyway. Recipes keep memories alive. Sometimes that right bite takes us back to our granny’s house, with a window AC unit, open windows in the kitchen that had simple white curtains blowing in the summer breeze, our bare feet on the laminate flooring and the perfect creamy bite of chocolate meringue pie in our month. No earthly mansion could compare to the paradise we experienced in that moment. No need for keeping up with the Joneses, as we had something they never would – a pie made with love from arthritic hands and a beautiful heart.

Although I’m missing my granny a lot lately, I’m so thankful for every memory I had with her and the recipes I get to share with Katherine and Grant. I hope you have plenty of memories like these, as well. If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section. Let’s keep the memories alive.

As always, thank you for reading!

 

Breaking Tradition

I speak (well, write) a lot on tradition. It’s important to me in so many ways. Tradition links generations together. It adds importance to holidays and other special occasions. It gives us something to remember loved ones by. It allows us to feel a sense of connection with others. Tradition eventually becomes almost like a habit – engrained in us. That’s what makes traditions hard to break.

I’m here today, though, to tell you – there are some traditions worth breaking.

Were your parents absent from you life? Did they do the bare minimum, maybe less?

Do you find youself always attracted to the same type…the type that ignores you or hits you?

Do you think you’re following in your parents’ footsteps by milking the system and doing drugs?

Stop. All of it. Break the cycle. I promise you, you can. The traditions you implement at first – cutting down a Christmas tree, Sunday dinners with friends, ice cream on the first day of school – won’t absolutely have that special feeling that traditions you’ve grown up with have. The safety net will be missing. That’s the cold, ugly truth. But for your children and family, THIS is what they’ll remember.

You are a good person. You are worthy of more than a mediocre life.

Traditions have to start somewhere. It is WONDERFUL that they start with you. I think traditions have a tendency to change, depending on what part each person found important. Regardless, like every generation, we tend to romanticize the past. I guarantee the ugliness has been wiped clean each time. The affairs and abuses tend to be overlooked. We can stop normalizing hurtful behavior.

Perfection isn’t expected, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Give yourself grace. Aim for better. No matter where you came from, I think each person wants more for the next generation. I wouldn’t change a thing from my childhood. I somehow still want better for my own children. We all do.

What tradition will you start today?