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Halloween Countdown, Day 26

"Call it Samhain, Summer's End, All Hallows' Eve, November Eve, or Witches' Night -- Halloween has its essential roots in the terrors of the primitive mind, which made no distinction between the waning of the sun and the potential extinction of the self. Ancient rituals of sacrifice and supplication were employed to guarantee a good harvest and, by extension, continued earthly existence.

"In northern climates, harvest time was, or seemed, the very death of nature. As Robert Chambers, the great Victorian chronicler of holidays, characterized October: 'As the fallen leaves career before us -- crumbling ruins of summer's beautiful halls -- we cannot help thinking of those who have perished -- who have gone before us, blown forward to the grave by the icy blasts of Death.'"


- from Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween by David J. Skal




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