BOO!

Did you know that in some parts of England, Halloween was called ‘Mischief Night’? And it really just meant that. People would cause a ruckus, like taking doors off their hinges and throwing them into ponds, or would hide them for no one to find? Hilarious!
I found some very funny, spooky, and interesting traditions for Halloween all around the world. Listen to some of these from Halloween Around the World.

IRELAND

Thousands of years ago there was a tribe of farmers called the Celts. They knew that the sun helped make their crops grow, so when autumn came the sun began to fade and they believed that the sun would be winter’s prisoner for six months.

They were worried that the sun would not return so to make sure it did they held a festival on October 31. During which, they asked the sun to return safely in the summer. All the cooking fires were put out and a huge bonfire was lit on the hillside. Here they prayed the sun would shine brightly after winter was over.

The next morning they would return to the hillside take a piece of the burning wood from the remains of the bonfire and light new fires so as to bring good luck. Feasts were held over the new fires and people would dress up in costumes made out of animal skins. It was believed these costumes would protect people from bad luck.

CHINA

The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts: In China the souls of the dead, particularly during the seventh lunar month, wander the earth in search of affection. They are known as the hungry ghosts because of their hunger for recognition and care.

CZECH REPUBLIC

In Czechoslovakia chairs are placed by the fireside. There is a chair for each family member and one for each family member’s spirit.

GERMANY

Here, people put their knives away. This is done as they do not want to risk hurting the returning spirits.

HONG KONG

During the Hungry Ghosts Festival or Yue Lan, ghosts and spirits roam the world for 24 hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money. This was believed to reach the spirit world and comfort the ghosts on this day.

ITALY

In Southern Italy families prepare a special feast for the souls of the departed on All Souls’ Day. The families would set the table with a bountiful meal. Then they would all go to church to pray for the souls of the deceased. They stayed there all day, leaving their home open so that the spirits could enter and enjoy the feast.

When the family came home to find that their offerings hadn’t been consumed it meant that the spirits disapproved of their home and would work evil against them during the coming year.

POLAND

In Poland doors and windows are left open to welcome the spirits or the visiting souls.

PORTUGAL

In Portugal they have feasts of wine and chestnuts at the cemetery.

RUSSIA

In Russia the blue cat is said to bring good luck. Blue cats such as Russian Blue, British Blue and Burmese.

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Fantasy Friday – Macau with a dash of Portuguese

What an interesting place I just found on the internet this morning, as I sat down with my first (but not last) steaming cup o coffee.

Macau, part of the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (phew!) sounds quite unique and enticing to morning-dream about today. What is especially fascinating is the strong Portuguese influence in this area.

Here’s what my agenda would look like:

Island hop

The island of Taipa is a busy, colourful place with interesting shops and colonial Portuguese offices in narrow streets and alleys, where many traditional crafts are still followed. The larger of Macau’s two islands, Colôane Island, is perfect for a day trip. Nature trails thread among the hills in Seac Pai Van Park, which also has a walk-in aviary. The best of the beaches is the black-sand Hác Sá. Enjoy spectacular views from the A-Ma Statue, which stands on the highest point on the island.

Seac Pai Van Park

Festivals

Macau’s colourful festivals include the Dragon Boat Festival in June; the International Fireworks Display Contest, which sees 90 countries competing for honours in September/October; and the Macau International Music Festival, which presents works in Chinese and Western styles throughout October.

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Historic Old City

Ascribed UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005, the old city has eight squares and 22 historic buildings. The narrow lanes, markets and sloping cobbles combine the architectural drama of backstreet Porto and the bustling energy, cooking smells and Cantonese dialect of southern China.

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Architectural jewels

The ruins of the Church of St Paul’s are probably the most famous sight in Macau. The church was originally built in 1602 and rebuilt in 1835 after a disastrous typhoon. The 40m-high (130ft) Gate of Understanding, which looms over Praia Grande Bay, is a symbolic structure representing the goodwill between China and Portugal. The finest expression of colonial architecture is probably the Largo do Senado Square.

Praia Grande Bay

Kun Iam Tong

Explore the complex of temples known as Kun Iam Tong, the biggest and wealthiest of Macau’s temples. It dates from the time of the Ming Dynasty, about 400 years ago, and contains a small statue of Marco Polo as well as other works of art.

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Take a leap

Enjoy panoramic views – or bungee jump – from Macau Tower, an entertainment and convention centre situated on the waterfront on the Nam Van Lakes. The 338m (1,109ft) landmark is the 10th tallest freestanding tower in the world.

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I think I will save this last adventure for a daydream, this morning dream does not feel like taking that leap just yet. Maybe another coffee will help…