Wednesday, October 23, 2013

La Notta Nera...Buono Halloween!

In America, we all grow up with's an American staple-a standing date, once a year!  We make costumes, carve pumpkins into lighted jack-o-lanterns, decorate our homes, and prepare for the long-awaited 'trick or treat' excursion through the streets of the city!

But wait!!! How about folks all over the world?  Is it just in America that this, oh, so exciting and spooky holiday is celebrated? Let us take a moment to ponder about the possibility of  other countries enjoying the brightly lit jack-o-lanterns, and children marching through the streets, chanting,
 "Trick or Treat, smell my feet...give me something good to eat!"

Most Americans believe that Halloween originated in America, as the first reports of  kids guising around North American neighborhoods go back to around 1911-1920.  Actually, we were introduced to this macabre holiday from the Scottish and Irish immigrants who brought it over in the 19th century.  We just nurtured it and kept it alive...very much so!

Okay, Okay...enough of American history for now!

Soooo, my dear readers, after mulling around, thinking first of  this, and, then queries produced quite a lot of Halloweenic activity throughout the universe.  But, since I only have time for one area,  I decided to give it the boot and go with our brothers and sisters in Southern Europe.

Italy typically celebrates a similar holiday called 'Carnevale', which begins 40 days before Easter and ends with Lent.  This celebration began in honor of a victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico in 1162.  There was dancing in the street, and, the townspeople wore masks made of leather, and/or porcelain.  This practice makes me think of Mardi Gras, such lavish costumes and masks.

In Corinaldo, Italy's le Marche region, the town celebrates with spooky attractions, dancing in the streets, with fire and lights all over town. Corinaldo is a medieval walled town, and dubs itself
 'The Capital of Halloween.'
~Corinaldo, Italy * Fire Dance on Halloween

In 1797, the festival was outlawed and masks were totally forbidden by the King of Austria.  Finally, in 1979, the Italian government brought back the carnival to showcase Venice history and culture...AND, of course, the masks returned!  The masks were, after all, a major feature of the Venetian carnival.

~Autumn carnival mask

~Venetian carnival masks

~Medico della Peste masks (below)
One of the more popular and peculiar Venetian masks is the Medico della Peste mask.  This mask was designed by a 17th century French physician, originally used to ward off plague and disease.  The doctor believed that by wearing this mask and gloves, the patient could be moved without passing the disease on to the doctor.  Today, these masks are more decorative and have become very popular, to be worn with a black cloak and white gloves.

OOH HOO...I've seen versions of this mask in 'SCARY' movies, haven't you?

Today, the Carnevale is still a top reigning festival, as, Halloween is becoming more favorable in Italy.  The celebration at the 'Devil's Bridge' in Borgo a Mozzano in 1993 claims to have marked the beginning of Italy's first Halloween celebration.
~Devil's Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano

Games, such as The Passage of Terror, are played here and horror movies are shown all night.

* It was common in Europe to have a day in honor of the dead.  This celebration called 'Feralia' took place in February at the end of the Roman year.  It is said that Pope Boniface IV invented 'All Saints Day', to replace the pagan holiday with one from Catholic roots. In essence, this appears to be the Italian Halloween.

* Let's do some Halloween window-shopping in Italy!
~ Halloween Shop in Italy

~Orvieto florist in Italy

~ Shop in Southern Italy

Aren't these photos great?  You're right!  I did NOT take these photos...unfortunately, I have never been to Italy, wishful thinking!

* So you see, the once sparsely decorated city of Rome has gradually adopted the Festive nature of Halloween with its stores catering to the public in honor of the holiday.

There are displays of mummies and skeletons...and, American horror movies!  There is a castle that sits on top of the village of Calice and it features special Halloween dinners there.

~castle Doria Malaspina

~restaurant at the castle

The Ghosthunter store reports haunted places in Italy
* Once such place is the Forum in Rome.  They say that at night you can look down over the barriers into the arches and catch impressions of shadowy figures lurking about, milling around, and gesturing...OMG!  What would I do if I were gestured at by a shadowy figure?  Well, you know me!  I would act like I didn't see a thing, lol!  There are a lot of old Roman housing areas surrounding this Forum, and, the ghosts are difficult to spot, because most of the city is lit up at night.  Oh, there's no worries...the ghostly figures are mostly just memories of the past, with no intentions of taking care of unfinished business!

 ~The Forum in Rome, stayed almost intact up to 1503

'Souling' is a custom that is very similar...well, it is actually today's 'trick or treating'.  It is an ancient practice that could have been one of the first signs of 'trick or treating', with folks going door to door begging for additional prayers for their deceased loved ones.  They would also accept soul cakes, which are part scone, and part teacake.  One soul cake soul saved.

Anyway, my most gracious friends, if you're still with me-I commend you for your patience up to this point.  What a great lot of history!  I have only touched on this celebration in Italy, there is so much more!  And, I promise, I will NOT do a Part II (deux)!


These people sure know how to parté!!!

I have so engrossed myself in the material I found on Halloween in Italy.  What exciting history from a country that offers so much beauty and culture! And, aren't the photos just grand?  I was so fortunate to find such great collections of the various types of celebrations, and decorations for sale about the cities.

  But, even though Halloween is presenting a more positive fashion of late in Italy, there is still a bit of uncertainty, and fear of the wandering spirits.  Using their masks and costumes, along with Jack-o-Lanterns, the Villagers' hope to scare off the spirits.

~La Festa Delle
Streghe Creature

Eeeek!!!  Now THAT'S Spooky! Don't want to meet HIM in a dark alley!  I mean, do you see where the rest of his body went?  Anyone?

And MY WORD...I have so many to thank this time:

Yahoo images for all of these pictures!

*  Thank you "YOUR HIGHNESS" over at MyTexasGardens for helping me find all of these cool pictures!  Illustrations surely give a story meaning...painting a picture that takes us from fantasy into the, perhaps, 'reality', and, then, back again to 'fantasy'.
Then, we must WAKE-UP!

You were wonderful for sticking around for my Halloween contribution...I do have a spooky story, but, then again, 'who doesn't'?  No really...I know of a story, and, I just need to get permission to ghost write it.  Even if it shows up here after Halloween, I know you won't mind!

Please stop by any time.  I love your company!  Don't know if our Scootie will be coming by for Halloween this year. His 5th birthday is this coming up on Saturday, so we will get to see him then. Take out for your precious little ones this Halloween.  I believe everyone is being more cautious these days-it's sad, but, we can't always be sure!

So, I'll leave you with this, my dear readers:

witch gif photo: witch gif witch_cooking.gif
"And now, my beauties, something with poison in it, I think.  With poison in it but attractive to the eye, and, soothing to the smell."

Who said this?  You guessed it!  The most famous WITCH EVER!

The Wicked Witch of the West!

See you soon, my pretties!

~ guess who?  lol....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Most Useful Two-Letter Word Ever!

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is UP!

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but, when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

* At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?  Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

* We call UP our friends.
And, we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.  We lock UP the house, and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
* People stir UP trouble, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
* To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
* A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
* We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night.

* We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add
UP to about thirty definitions!
* If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways
UP is used.
* It will take UP a lot of your time, but, if you don't give UP,
you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
* When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
* When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP.

** When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP!
**  When it doesn't rain for a while, things dry UP!

Okay...OK!  One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP!
...for now my time is UP, so it's time to shut UP!
And, now it's UP to you what you do with this little ditty!

Now wasn't that fun!  This fine piece of literary work was sent to us girls in my office via email from our boss Paige.  Sometimes on Fridays she sends us a fun email and wishes us a great weekend-Paige is the greatest by far!  Thanks Paige!

* I want to send a fond hello to my good friend and co-worker Cindy, who suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago.  Cindy actually drove herself to the hospital...what stamina!  We are all so happy she is doing well, and is back to work!     

* And, a big Thank You to our fun friend and co-worker Paulette, who, jumped in there and worked hard to help get us through the following two weeks that Cindy was out of the office.   

*** I know I haven't been here in a're right, Shady-I'm having computer problems again.  And, I am typing this post from Karo's old e-machine PC! I guess I'd better get off my, well, you know, and take my laptop and desk PC to the doc.  They're slow, and with junk flying around all over the screens!
*** And, this summer has been hectic for us!  But, I've tried to keep up with my blog reading...I know you're still out there, I'm just running a bit behind.  And, looking forward to some cool temps in Fort Worth!

I guess you all know what an oldies music fan I am.  I listen to the oldies radio stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Well, the other day, the DJs on my station mentioned the Beatles Sgt Pepper album.  It seems as though right around the time that album was released in June of 1967, the Beatles (all of them) were in attendance at a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Saville Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in London...lo, and behold, Hendrix breaks out with his rendition of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on guitar, and actually sings the song! You can find it on YouTube if you wish to listen to it.  
Jimi's version was partially played on my radio station, and I liked it!
Paul McCartney was very impressed...he said that was the best Jimi Hendrix song he had heard, lol! 
 Of course!
Above, here are The Beatles at this very concert!  

...and here they are holding their Sgt Pepper album cover!
This is so cool!

Thank you so much for coming's always great to see you, and, as Cindy says,
"It's Great To Be Seen!"

* Please stop and say hello, drop me a line anytime!  Have a wonderful week, my dearest readers...right now we're running at about 72° here in the Lone Star State, (well, Fort Worth anyway!) 
And, I love it!

Thanks Yahoo and Google, 
Thanks Karo for the use of your old E-Machine (it was great!)
Thanks Shady Del Knight for dedicating the 'Sorry Suzanne"
song to me by 'The Hollies' on your blog!
Thanks to your beautiful country, Thisisme (Diane)...
...for sharing the Beatles with us!
Thank you Jodi Dean and the morning team at KLUV/Dallas, Ft. Worth

And, now,  I bid you adieu my gracious readers!
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb:
sweet to the taste, and health to the body".
Proverbs16:24 HCSB

Be Safe, See You! ♥