Hallowe'en has it's roots in the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday, All Saint's Day. The Celtic festival of Samhain (the name is derived from Old Irish which means roughly "summer's end") celebrates the end of the 'lighter half' of the year and the beginning of the 'darker half'; also known as the Celtic New Year (The Celtic new year started on November 1). The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin during the time of Samhain, allowing spirits, both good and bad, to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home, while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the wearing of costumes and masks, to disguise oneself as an 'evil spirit', was used to avoid harm. Samhain was also the time of year to take stock of food supplies, harvest crops and slaughter livestock for the coming winter.
Large bonfires also played a large part in the festivities.In Scotland and Wales, people still set blazing bonfires near their homes to keep the evil spirits from their doors. Inside, each family member drinks a special "brew" blended from cinnamon, nutmeg, Drambuie and the yolks of eggs, which is believed to ward off spirits that may have snuck past the blazes. In our local area, some people still carry out the family tradition of burning fires as late as midnight on Halloween.
The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips became adapted into the making of jack-o'-lanterns. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces, and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.
The name, "Hallowe'en", is derived from All Hallow's Even, the night before All Hallow's Day.
All Saints Day is offically known as Solemnity of All Saints,and is also known All Hallows or Hallowmas. It is a solemnity celebrated on November 1 in Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Christian denominations celebrate Solemnity of All Saints' Day and the Feast of All Soul's Day because of the belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in a state of grace who have died that are either in purgatory or are in heaven, and the living. Those that have died that are with God watch over the living and the saints are held to intercede with God on the behalf of the living. On their part, the living pray to the saints and remember in intercessory prayers to God those that have died, particularly deceased family and friends.
Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).
I love this hand-painted Hallowe'en wine glass, which was a gift last year from my mother-in-law. There's even a wine spritzer recipe on the bottom.
And the last of my Hallowe'en decor to go up is my spooky fence:
I made the fence using black crepe paper streamers, and then drew the raven silhouette on plain paper to use as a template to cut out from black card stock. A few faux silk colored leaves are 'caught' in the rickety old fence.
I think Euphraxia approves.
A note on Witches: In Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, the Three Witches represent darkness, chaos, and conflict, while their role is as agents and witnesses. Their presence communicates treason and impending doom. During Shakespeare's day, witches were seen as worse than rebels, "the most notorious traytor and rebell that can be." They were not only political traitors, but spiritual traitors as well.
Much of the confusion that springs from them comes from their ability to straddle the play's borders between reality and the supernatural. They are so deeply entrenched in both worlds that it is unclear whether they control fate, or whether they are merely its agents. They defy logic, not being subject to the rules of the real world.The witches' lines in the first act: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air" are often said to set the tone for the rest of the play by establishing a sense of confusion. Indeed, the play is filled with situations where evil is depicted as good, while good is rendered evil. The line "Double, double toil and trouble," (often sensationalized to a point that it loses meaning), communicates the witches' intent clearly: they seek only trouble for the mortals around them.
I took some pictures last night of the parlour with all the candles lit; this is how it will be looking on the night of the party next week.
I have some battery operated electric candles in the windows also. I also use these at Christmas time.
The coffin table!
And of course, Olive had to get in on the photos. She loves to model.
We also have this spooky denizen on our front porch...........
He hovers there throughout the Halloween season and then flies back up to the attic when Halloween is over.
I'll be joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday; please stop by and see all the other fabulous entries.
Thanks for stopping by!
We're counting down the days until October 30th and our combination Halloween/Birthday Costume Party, so things are busy here at Le Beau Paon in preparation for the party, but Erik and I took time out from re-decorating and other projects (and winterizing the house!) to hang up some of my pictures in the parlour using the picture hangers I just bought. You can read the original post about the picture hangers HERE.
I did a 'double hang' of two small framed pictures that I've had for some years. They are both tinted prints from La Mode Illustree'.
This particular style of picture hanger was called the 'Jane Austen' style on the website where I ordered it from. The medallion slides up and down the picture cord, so you can place it as low or as high as you like.
We also hung this one too:
The size and weight of this portrait made me decide to use two picture hanging hooks and two sets of hanging cord. I've had this massive portrait for years. I bought it at an estate sale because I loved the size and the intricately carved frame and I always imagined how awesome it would look on the wall. It's been sitting in storage for probably more than 15 years and now it's finally found it's way onto my wall, at long last! I don't even really mind the somewhat dour old woman who stares out from the frame. I think she's a rather cool customer and I call her 'Martha'.
This picture is a little blurry, but shows how the picture hooks and rail work.
I also took a picture of the new ceiling medallion with the light fixture back in place. Erik shortened the chain quite a bit. I'm still not thrilled with this ceiling fixture; I'd like something more Victorian looking. The previous owners put this light fixture in and it's relatively new, so we'll leave it for now, until something better comes along!
Thanks for stopping by!
The dining room has now joined all the rest of the rooms in the house with this skull on a wreath of black roses that makes up the central piece of my dining room table. I made the wreath last year.
These witch shoes are Fitz and Floyd salt and pepper shakers. They were a gift some years ago.
The pair of silver candleabra are covered in cobwebs and spiders! The "cobwebs" are just cheesecloth that I tore and frayed, with plastic spiders. I finally located a store that had enough black taper candles for all four of my candleabra (two are in the parlour). Every place I had looked was out of black. A local party supply store had plenty!
I made these spooky treat jars about 4 years ago, using two old pickle jars and a canning jar. I printed the labels from Martha Stewart's website. I fill up the jars with black licorice, chocolate peanut butter balls with foil eyeball wrappers and Jelly Belly jellybeans in various colors of black and mottled blue and gray.
I'll be joining Susan again at Between Naps on the Porch, this time for Metamorphosis Monday, with a couple pictures of our living room at Le Beau Paon Victorien. Our living room recently had some welcome changes made to it!
This was how the living room looked before. Most of the furniture in here, and the color scheme we used, was from Erik's apartment before we bought the house shortly before our wedding. Even though the downstairs rooms, including the dining room and formal parlour, have a distinctly Victorian style, our living room looked relatively 'modern'.
We also had a monstrous large entertainment center (which was Erik's from his apartment and which he bought 20 years ago) that also had huge cabinet speakers on either side, which took up a large amount of space. I don't actually have a picture of it because I always avoided taking any pictures of that side of the room because it was so darned ugly!
Here's what we replaced it with:
The new media cabinet is much, much smaller. We also got rid of his old stereo with the giant speakers( which we used for our sound system). We're going to get a newer system with small wireless speakers. We also got a new TV. It's a 50" and Erik is very happy to have a fancy new TV ( I am too!). We only had one TV in the house and it was also very old and was relatively small--a mere 27". We had planned for some time to get a new TV (we love the flat screen!) and also to get a smaller media cabinet so we could get rid of the dinosaur in our living room. Now we'll also be able to use the door that you see on the left. Before, the giant speakers were in front of it! The door opens onto our back porch (there is another door in the kitchen that goes out there also.)
We also recently acquired two more antique pieces of furniture from an estate sale. This love seat was one of them. There was a boring old brown chair here before. The upholstery on this one isn't bad, but it's pretty faded and I plan to have it re-upholstered in a different color to go better with the new color scheme we chose for this room. Olive was being my cat model again today.
I love the carving on this piece! As you can see here, there's pink flowers on the fabric.
I think this is Olive's new favorite spot to chillax.
So here's the new look for our living room. The sofa was in the parlour, but we decided to use it in the living room instead. It's a modern piece, but in a style made to look sort of Victorian. We got this sofa for free earlier this year from a friend of Erik's.(Click HERE). I want to have the love seat upholstered in a fabric and color that is similar to the sofa. The rug is brand new, and the pillows,too. I bought the pillows from Home Goods after I saw this rug. I was still able to keep my black curtains and the black coffee tables. The end table will soon be leaving (it's brown and a cheap beat up thing I've had for years). I also found a new beaded lamp. There's another chair off to the right that isn't in the picture; it's black, but sort of modern looking and came from IKEA. We are going to get a new chair to replace that one eventually; a larger, comfier chair probably in a similar style to the sofa.
I am so in love with this rug! We bought the media center, TV and rug from a large furniture store in our area called Colder's. As I explained to Erik, the design challenge I was faced with in this room was how to use some of the nicer things that we wanted to keep, that were fairly new (like the curtains and the coffee tables, which we bought from Pottery Barn and which were surprisingly expensive) yet also try to give the room a new look that might fit in slightly better with the rest of the downstairs, but was also a room in which a big giant flat screen TV wouldn't look too out of place and would have comfy furnishings for movie watching and other gatherings (despite my encouragement, many people seem afraid to actually sit on my antique furniture!) I think I accomplished what I set out to do. There are still a few decor items we would like to add; a new chair with an ottoman, a floor lamp, some valances to go with the curtains etc., but it's coming together nicely!
E.B. was also my cat model during the photographs.
Where we had the sofa in the parlour, we replaced it with one of the other pieces we got at the same estate sale.
The brown sofa that was in the living room has been moved upstairs, where it will reside in Erik's man cave.
There is a third piece we acquired from the same estate sale, but I will save that one for another day.
I'm super excited to be able to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch again with an autumn table! I'd been wanting to put together this table for a couple of weeks, but time was getting away from me.
Pretty much everything on this table are things I already had in the house. The only new things I had bought specifically for this table were the placemats and napkins, purchased a couple of months ago at Home Goods in the clearance section.
I used a color palette of browns, golds and cream; very autumnal I thought. My silver serving pieces and silver flatware reflected the other colors nicely and added a touch of elegance to the table.
I really loved these gold/mustard colored paisley placemats. I thought they'd look fabulous with my black transferware. I've also put out my good silver flatware.
The black transferware plates have a harvest theme on them, including berries, apples and wheat designs; perfect for autumn. The brown paisley napkins have similar colors to the rest of the table.
I did a fun and somewhat complex napkin fold called the "Artichoke" for this table. The Artichoke fold is the perfect holder for a place card and a silk fall leaf. This fold also works well with a dinner roll in the center.
The centerpiece for the table I put together taking faux pumpkins and other fall foliage from a centerpiece I had put together for my kitchen table, and placed them around a black metal and glass lantern that usually sits outside on my front porch.
This covered silver server is one of my favorite serving pieces. It has a decorative grapevine motif along the edge and on the feet. It was a gift from my great-aunt (it had belonged to her mother-in-law) about 15 years ago.
Each place setting has it's own little salter. We are still seeking out tiny salt spoons to go with these. We found this vintage set of six at an antiques place in Columbus,WI. last spring.
These sturdy gold colored bubble glasses are actually margarita glasses. I have a set of four with a matching pitcher. They seem perfect for this table, however!
I've only used two plates on this table; here is one of the black transferware plates.
On top I have one of my vintage yellow peacock plates. This plate is covered initally by the napkin, but shows my dinner guest a pretty surprise when they remove the napkin at the start of the meal.
My pheasant salt and pepper shakers, which I frequently have on my tablescapes, are a favorite of mine.
A bird's eye view.
I also took some evening pictures, of course!
This one shows the embroidered flower on the table runner beautifully!
Thanks for stopping by!
I'll also be linking up with Centerpiece Wednesday at Style Sisters!
Black transferware dishes: TJ Maxx, last winter
Paisley place mats and paisley napkins: Home Goods, August 2010
Silver flatware: Baroque, by Godinger
Cream colored embroidered table runner: Home Goods