This book is intended to give the reader an account of the origin and history of Hallowe'en, how it absorbed some customs belonging to other days in the year,—such as May Day, Midsummer, and Christmas. The context is illustrated by selections from ancient and modern poetry and prose, related to Hallowe'en ideas.
On November first was Samhain ("summer's end").
"Take my tidings: Stags contend; Snows descend-- Summer's end!
"A chill wind raging, The sun low keeping, Swift to set O'er seas high sweeping.
"Dull red the fern; Shapes are shadows; Wild geese mourn O'er misty meadows.
"Keen cold limes each weaker wing, Icy times-- Such I sing! Take my tidings."
GRAVES: First Winter Song.
Then the flocks were driven in, and men first had leisure after harvest toil. Fires were built as a thanksgiving to Baal for harvest. The old fire on the altar was quenched before the night of October 31st, and the new one made, as were all sacred fires, by friction. It was called "forced-fire." A wheel and a spindle were used: the wheel, the sun symbol, was turned from east to west, sunwise. The sparks were