Many of our Halloween traditions come from ancient European harvest festivals. People celebrated the change of the seasons with 8 feasts throughout the year. The two largest festivals were held 6 months apart. Beltane celebrated Spring and rebirth and Samhain honored Winter and the coming time of darkness. Legend has it that the "veil" between this world and the spirit world is at its thinnest on Samhain. So it was during this festival that these ancient people employed many forms of fortune telling - all in the hopes of gaining some insight into the great mystery of their unknowable future. They took a shot at predicting anything from the coming weather right down to who they were going to marry. ........Not much has changed...........fast forward a few thousand years to 1892. The Farmers Almanac has been handing out predictions for 100 years! The Victorians have embraced the customs of many of the newly emigrated peoples of Europe and Halloween parties are enjoyed by young and old! The rules for proper entertaining were relaxed a bit on this night and guests were treated with a playful evening full of games and laughter. Here are some of the activities you may have enjoyed
Rich girl, poor girl,
beggar girl, crook,
Schoolgirl, nurse girl, servant girl, cook.
This year, next
year, no year, darn;
Big house, little house, hotel, barn.
Depending on your hostess, you may have also received your fortune by means of a palm reading, tarot card reading, numerology, tasseomancy or any number of similar oracular practices. Tasseomancy is more commonly known as Tea Leaf Reading!