HALLOWEEN FESTIVITIES AS THE NIGHTS DRAW IN
Thursday, October 27th, 2011
To mark the end of British Summer Time, the world celebrates with one of the oldest and most popular annual festivals (second only to Christmas), Halloween.
The celebration of Halloween or ‘All Hallows Eve’ can be traced back to the Druids over two thousand years ago; a Celtic culture located in Britain, Ireland and Northern Europe. The roots of the Halloween celebration lay in the feast of Samhain (October 31st); a harvest festival featuring huge sacred bonfires which signified the end of the Celtic year and the start of a new one. It was also a holiday which honoured the dead - the Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets at night. But not all spirits were thought to be friendly, so treats and gifts were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next year’s crops would be rich and plentiful.
Fast forward two thousand-odd years and this custom has evolved into ‘trick or treating,’ with pumpkins carved into decorative lanterns or ‘Jack O’Lanterns’ and placed in the front of homes. The celebration of Halloween has now become a world-wide holiday and a time for fun, dressing-up and themed events or parties. For inspiration this Halloween, the Jasper Conran team has outlined some unusual events which are certain to get the heart pounding…
Set within an atmospheric Jacobean mansion, The Thirteenth Ghost of Gruesome Greenwich features two evenings of Halloween-inspired performance by Phantasmagoria Events, along with haunted history walks, ghost hunting with London Paranormal and the Theatre of Blood shows.
From Greenwich, why not head west to the Halloween Banquet at Petersham House where The Old Vic Tunnels & Petersham Playhouse present La Petite Mort, alongside terrifying and tantalizing performances from Les Enfant Terribles. This is all followed by a Michelin Star Halloween banquet at Petersham house, prepared by chef Skye Gyngell.
For something uplifting, why not look to the skies at the Royal Observatory Greenwich whilst an astronomer takes you on a journey into the dark night’s sky, revealing how to spot moons, planets, stars and constellations in this special Halloween-inspired event.
Day of the Dead, The Wellcome Collection, is a new exhibition celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead festival, which remembers loved ones who have died. This interactive installation is set to include ancient storytelling, face painting and a grand procession with a finale dance of the dead.
Wallington, Northumberland, is leading a spooky latern parade through the woods!
Fortnum & Mason, London, is holding two Pumpkin Carving Competitions in store for Halloween (one for children and one for adults).
Arlington Court, Devon, is hosting a ‘grim story-telling event’ in its grounds with expert story teller, Michael Dacre, promising to fill even the bravest with terror and dread.