Happy Halloween, everyone! This is also called Samhain, and on the Pagan calendar, it is the end of the year. This is the third harvest, at which time,our ancestors' tradition held that all agricultural harvesting should be complete. Some Pagan traditions celebrate this day on October 31; others celebrate it on the first full moon of Scorpio. This day is set aside as a day to honor deceased Ancestors. It is a bit like Memorial Day, and gifts of flowers, whiskey, chocolate, food, and tobacco were often left at graves, as gifts for the Dead. Gourds and turnips were carved into scary candle holders called "jack-o-lanterns" to scare away any malevolent spirits, and the custom of dressing up in costumes, as fairies or spirits, was seen as a means of protection, as well.
Halloween is also reminiscent of the Greek legend of Hades and his capture of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, Goddess of agriculture, plants, and harvest. When Persephone disappeared, Demeter let the earth become barren. When Zeus intervened, and determined that Persephone should be in the Underworld with her new consort for six months, then with Demeter for six months, the seasons as we know them began, so the story goes. This is how Persephone became Queen of the Dead, and when she rushes out of the Underworld in the Spring, life begins anew.
Happy Halloween, everyone!