Hey, everyone! I just got back to Colorado Springs from the conference on July 27th. This blog post is a summary of what I did at the annual Chromosome 18p- conference this year. In case you are wondering, these are Thomas’s, Camilla’s, mine, and Chromosome 18’s website.
I woke up at 9:39 am. I then looked at my phone to see if there were any messages from Macy and sure enough there was. Eventually, Macy asked where I was and I told her I was up in the hotel room eating.
Then around noon, Macy went to her hotel room to eat lunch. Then about 9 minutes later she asked where I was again. I told her that I was still in the room but I told her that I was dressed.
So she told me that she was on her way to our hotel room. Then 2 minutes later, she was at the door. So I walked over to the door to open it. So we hung out in the hotel room for a little bit before heading to her hotel room.
During that time, Macy went to the restroom there. Once she was done drying her hands, she asked Siri what the weather was in Kentucky. After she got the answer to the weather, Macy asked what time it was in Kentucky.
Then she told Siiri to type a message to me saying we were in the same room together. After she sat down for a minute, we roamed the hallways and as we approached the 6th floor I asked if she wanted to see Patty, Frank, and Debbie’s hotel room.
She said sure so we did. Once we got to the door I pulled out the room key and looked at the room number to make sure it was the right door. Then I opened the door to show her what their room looked like.
I let her see the view then I closed the white curtains again gently. After that, we went to the 4th floor again. So we could ask Camilla about the pool. We went on a mission to find the age limit of going in the pool by ourselves.
Macy and I went outside and looked on the sign on the gate but to our surprise, there was no age limit on the sign. We went back to Camilla to tell her and she suggested we go look at the sign outside of the pool on the second floor.
So we went to the second floor to look at the sign and sure enough, the age limit existed. The age limit was 14 and under. So we went back to Camilla and told her. She told us to double-check with the hotel staff in the lobby.
So we went back down to the lobby to ask. The staff said it was okay for both of us. We headed back up to our hotel room. Camilla said good but she pointed out the pool had people in it.
We waited until 3:00 pm. At 3:00 pm, people started coming back from the zoo. In about 15 minutes, we got in the pool. I kept an eye on the time too to make sure it wasn’t 10 minutes yet.
When there were about 3 minutes left, Camilla came in the pool and I told her to let me know when 10 minutes were up. When the 10 minutes were up, Camilla helped me and Macy find a spot in the shade to dry off.
Once we dried off, we headed out of the pool gate and down the steps where we ran into the rest of Macy’s family. I followed them right into the elevator and managed to get a spot next to the elevator buttons so I could press the 4th-floor button.
Once Macy and I got off the elevators, we went in opposite directions so Macy could take a shower and so I could get dressed. While I went to the restroom, I Facebook Messaged Patty to talk to her about getting the presents Patty got us from exploring The Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
Eventually, I began figuring out what to put on. I finally decided upon black baggy pants that are very comfortable with the shirt I wore before going to the pool. At 4:00 pm, I arrived at their hotel room on the 6th floor.
I sat down to hang out and before I left, they handed me a bag that said Garden of The Gods and Pikes Peak while Camilla got some ‘replacement’ earrings while Thomas got a dream catcher.
At around 4:30 pm, I found Macy in the elevator room on the 4th floor waiting for me so I quickly changed my pants into my blue skirt. Then I went down only to realize I forgot my sunglasses and my little white cape so I went up quickly to grab them.
Once I came to the elevator room, the elevator that came was crowded but there was just enough space for me to squeeze in (being small has its advantages). In the elevator, among the crowd was Katie and her father who were heading down to the lobby as well.
At around 5:00 pm, I saw this party/tour bus we were getting on. I could hardly believe my eyes. The music I must say was interesting. Camilla went inside the bus to get photos of the party bus full of self-advocates like me, Macy, and Lauren.
Camilla danced to the music which was very funny. Once she left, we started riding with no seatbelts which were awesome! All the bumps made me feel like I was dancing. Macy said that she was not expecting seatbelts but she liked it like me.
Too soon though, we arrived at the restaurant called Front Range Barbqeucue and again I had another friend hold it while I got off. Once I got off, I followed Macy and the other self-advocates to the entrance of Front Range Barbqeucue.
Then we turned left and I saw three steps with no railing but I looked around and found a temporary railing. Macy went first, I went second, and Lauren went last.
While I was going down the steps, I looked down to ensure that my feet were stepping in the right place. Once I was down, I walked into the room that the self-advocates would be in.
Macy, Lauren, and I all found a spot to sit down together at. I got some water and a straw so I could drink that water instead of my thermos water. Unfortunately, when I was about to message Camilla my phone went dead so I had no way of knowing the time.
Shortly after that, the food was ready and I went to at least get two things of food. Chicken and a muffin. I knew I might not be able to eat both so I chose to eat the meat. Although, immediately I regretted my decision. I immediately wished that I had chosen to eat the blueberry muffin.
After I ate, my stomach was grumbling, gurgling, and unsettled. So I just rubbed my stomach and drink water in hopes that would settle my stomach. My stomach took it a while but eventually, it settled down some.
I was wondering about the time. I was practically talking to myself about it but Macy heard me and showed me the time on her phone. (Thank you for that, Macy!) It was almost 8:00 pm.
Soon it was time to go so I went outside and went back up the steps using the temporary railing. I found Katie and she helped me get to Macy and Lauren. We got to the party tour bus and this time my hair was blowing around due to a window open behind me.
We saw the sunset on us while on the bus. It was a magnificent sunset. I really wished I could have taken a picture of it. Macy showed me the time again on the bus. Macy and Lauren’s mothers’ all went to get tattoos and Macy asked me if I wanted to hang out with them while they waited.
Then all too soon, we were back at the hotel. We walked back inside together. And so the waiting began starting with a stop at the restroom for all three of us. Once we were done, Macy’s father asked about us having fun in the bathroom through text message.
We burst out laughing. Once we stopped laughing, we headed into the lobby and I sat with them for a while. When they were on their phones, I went to scout out a plugin outlet but couldn’t find one.
Eventually, Camilla came by and helped me find a spot for my phone and I eventually went over once it was on and messaged Macy through it. Then Macy and Lauren went up to grab their iPhone plugin cords.
I decided to go up with them so I grabbed my phone plugin and went up with them. Once Macy and Lauren got their plugins, we all found a perfect spot for our plugins that weren’t being used. So we plugged up our phones and sat down together on the floor,
Camilla stopped by to take pictures of us and I also asked for a cup of water as I already drank all my water. We sat there until almost midnight. We had a great time together.
Macy set up this group text with Lauren and I because she figured it would be easy to message us through. (Awesome idea, Macy!) I also dropped Macy off while Lauren continued on the elevator alone. I got ready for bed and then I used my phone until my eyes wouldn’t stay open.
So I got up and finished getting ready for bed. Then I went to sleep at about 3:00 am. (Yes, I know it was late but I was having fun on my phone and didn’t see the time until it was too late.)
Me, Macy, and Lauren hanging out aka Starfish Triplets! Taken by me!
Me, Macy, and Lauren. Taken by Macy!
The Starfish Triplets aka me, Macy, and Lauren on a party tour bus! Taken by Camilla.
Self Advocates on the Party Bus! Taken by Camilla.
What do you like to do with your friends? I would love to hear your answers in the comments if it feels right to you!
Hey, everyone! I just got back to Colorado Springs from the conference on July 27th. This blog post is a summary of what I did at the annual Chromosome 18p- conference this year. In case you are wondering, these are Thomas’s, Camilla’s, mine, and Chromosome 18’s website.
I woke up around 7:00 am to Camilla closing the blackout curtains so we could sleep a little longer. So I went back to sleep and winded up waking up at 11:00am. My grand aunt Debbie Burton had already landed at the Denver International Airport by that point.
So I messaged her to keep her company while she was waiting on Patty and Frank (the Romano Duo) to get there. I also kept Patty company through text throughout the day. Almost everyone wondered where I was including Rebecca and Macy.
I also took a shower (that was an accomplishment around Christmas 2018) and it felt so natural because I had done it at Patty and Frank’s home many times there. Afterward, I ate a few crackers before going to meet up with Macy by the elevators.
In the conference rooms, I ate some of my assigned lunch served by the Marriott staff but provided by the registry slowly and cautiously. After I finished eating, I messaged Patty and found out they got stuck in the same traffic near Glenwood Springs.
Knowing that Patty overheated easily, I asked if they pulled over at the White River National Forest. Patty messaged me saying they did but just got back on the highway. After that, they got out of the traffic jam.
Then I went up with Macy to roam around the hallways. I messaged Debbie again to check on her as Patty was worried that she wasn’t okay sitting there all by herself. So I messaged Patty to tell her that she was okay.
I asked Patty what room number they thought they would get. Then Macy and I headed to our hotel room so we could hang out with Camilla. Afterward, Macy and I headed to her family’s hotel room so Macy could go to the restroom.
After that, we went back down to the lobby and I sat with Macy outside the Self Advocate Room for a minute before realizing I was getting nauseous again so I told Macy and then I went back up to the hotel room alone,
Of course, I wasn’t very happy that I had to leave Macy sitting there alone so as soon as I got up into the hotel room I messaged Macy to let her know I was resting in the hotel room.
In return, she told that she was in the Self Advocate Room again. Eventually, I found I was able to not be nauseous while sitting down so I went down to the lobby and stayed sitting there.
Rebecca and Lauren eventually came over to sit by me while I did things on my phone & message Debbie and Patty. Camilla eventually came down and she asked if I wanted more water. I said yes so I got up so I could order water with Camilla’s help.
I eventually started getting nauseous again. Once I got back to the couch, I got a message from Macy asking where I was. I told her that I was over by Rebecca and Lauren. I eventually got up so I could go with Macy to roam hallways again before she had to go back down to the self-advocate room.
I eventually went back down to the lobby with her. I asked Patty and Frank what their estimated time for their arrival was. She said 4:05 pm the first time then said 4:30 pm the next time.
At 4:00 pm we went outside for a group photo. While we were out there, I saw many cars that looked very close to Patty and Frank’s car. Right when Macy, Lauren, and I sat down together, Patty, Frank, and Debbie came through the doors.
Frank went to register Patty, Debbie, and himself. Debbie went looking for the restrooms. While Patty talked with Camilla and met Macy. Then Debbie came back to join Patty and Frank eventually came over.
Patty gave me the hotel room key. Then after I saw Macy off. I saw Debbie, Patty, Camilla, and Frank waiting for an elevator so I joined them. I got off on the 4th floor while everyone else got off the elevator on the 6th floor.
I eventually went to the lobby where they were eating. I also saw Macy’s father and mother eating together. I pointed it out to Camilla and eventually, Macy’s father came over to introduce himself. Macy’s mother looked over at me and asked me if I was still going to Olive Garden.
And I told her that I think I would. Macy’s mother asked if Macy would text me when they are done at Bulid-A-Bear and I told her yes. After Patty, Debbie, Frank, and Camilla got done eating I headed outside with them.
It felt very good outside. I then headed up to their room with them. While I was up there, Macy messaged me saying they were almost at Olive Garden. I then got Camilla to drive me there in the dark.
I then ordered french fries and a straw for my water. I winded up spilling water on the table but luckily no one noticed but me. It was a little too full for me. I then got my french fries.
It was a very small portion of french fries so I was able to eat all of them without it upsetting my stomach luckily. Macy finished shortly after me. At around 10:00 pm, the first Marriott shuttle arrived. Macy and I got on together. We sat together too.
Lauren was on the other side of Macy. I was happy but tired. Macy had to go straight up to her hotel room and Lauren and I went up too. I dropped Macy off by her hotel room. Then I headed to our room to drop off the money then I went to find Camilla in the lobby.
Of course, Camilla was talking with friends. I talked some too. It was 11:00 pm when me and Camilla headed up to the room. I then got ready for bed. Then I played on my phone a little until my eyes would barely stay open so I got up to go to the restroom.
After that, I went to sleep at around 1:00 am or 2:00 am.
View of the mountains from our hotel room. Taken by me!
The view from our hotel room. Taken by me!
What is your favorite hotel so far? I would love to see your answers in the comments if it feels right to you!
Hey, everyone! This blog post is a summary of what I did at the Chromosome 18p- conference. I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. In case you’re wondering, the links are Thomas’, Camilla’s, Team TLC’s blogs, and Chromosome 18’s website.
July 11th, 2017:
Borrowed from Camilla On the airplane waiting to take off.
We woke up early that morning to get to the airport and go through security. I went up the stairs to get to the flights while Camilla and Thomas went up the escalator. We got on the airplane right on time thankfully. Sadly, one of the plane engines wouldn’t start. We got to see a beautiful sunrise while we were sitting on the plane waiting for them to fix the plane engine. After the beautiful sunrise, the plane lifted off the ground.
We sat on the plane for about 3 ½ hours and watched clouds. I played a few offline games on my tablet. I also finished a Hawaiian magazine while on the plane. I got Fritos® chips and honey roasted peanuts which I ate along with honey roasted cashews, apricots, and cereal. To go with that snack, I got some apple juice and water which I drank during the flight.
I also tried to see Lake Michigan when we were about to land but it was too cloudy for that. When we got off the plane in Chicago Midway International Airport, we walked to an elevator and got off on the ground level of the airport.
Waiting for our hotel room. Borrowed from Camilla
Camilla found our luggage and then we used a Lyft taxi to get us to Naperville’s Chicago Marriott where we met a few 18q and 18p- friends in the lobby while waiting to get a hotel room. Once we went up to our hotel room, we started unpacking and ate our lunch/snack that Camilla got us from The Artisan Table (the restaurant that’s in the hotel).
After settling in, I went down to the lobby with Thomas to see if any of my 18p- and 18q- friends were there. Camilla came down a little after I went up to tell her that it was almost dinner time. Camilla ran into several of her friends. I ran into a lot of friends at that time including Katie Baker. We took the Marriot shuttle down to Downtown Naperville to have dinner at an Irish pub named Quigley’s.
Once we got back from Quigley’s, I went up to the hotel room to put some things away. After that, I got a little lost trying to find the pool so I sat down and texted Camilla to find out. Although that wasn’t much help, I found the pool much to my luck. Just out the window, I could see a thunderstorm forming.
After we were done checking out the pool, Camilla and I sat on the hotel’s deck outside the hotel’s main entrances when it starting raining. After a few hours sitting there, we headed up to the room to get ready to go to bed. I also let Macy Miller (a 18p- friend of mine) know that I was at the hotel and going to bed.
July 12th, 2017:
I woke up around 8:00 am and wondered where I was for a second. I remembered shortly after 2 seconds that I was in Naperville. I wondered where Camilla was. So I messaged Camilla where she was and she had been out on the hotel deck and was right outside hotel room door. I accidentally woke Thomas up while I took a quick bath and watched a thunderstorm while messaging Macy.
I found out that Macy was already in Indiana. After the storm blew away, I prepared to go down to the lobby to see if any friends were there. I managed to catch Rebecca Parker on the elevator. We ate lunch at the Artisan Table. I went up to the room to relax some and check updates from Macy before going down with Camilla to run a quick trip to the bank.
When we got back, we ran into Macy and her family. I went up to the room to relax for a second before heading straight down to the lobby to hang out with Macy. I hung out with Macy a little more before going with her parents to get registered and shortly, Camilla and I went in to get name tags and hung out with Macy when she came out of the registry room. I stayed down in the lobby with Macy until right before dinner when I went up the elevator to get my sunglasses and quickly went back down to Macy, her family, Camilla, and Thomas.
Macy & I Borrowed from Camilla
Gorgeous clouds in Naperville. Taken by me
We went out to dinner with Macy and her family at Bricks Wood Fired Pizza. We saw Katie Baker and Rebecca Parker there as well. We spent an hour there waiting for everyone to finish eating including myself. Once we got back, we went back in the registry room for the silent auction. After the silent auction was over, I hung out with Macy in the registry room.
Macy wanted to know where the pool was so she could go swimming. So Macy got her parents’ permission so I could show Macy where the pool was. As Macy and I headed out of the registry room, we ran into some of Camilla’s friends. I helped Macy make friends while we walked to the pool entrance.
Once I showed Macy the pool, we headed back to the registry room so Macy could get permission to go swimming. Macy and I went to our hotel rooms to get our swimsuits on. I was one second late but I made it on time.
After Macy soaked her feet a little and dried off, she went up to her hotel room with her parents. I was drying off when she said good night to me. I went outside on the hotel deck with Camilla after drying off. After being outside for an hour, I went up to our hotel room to get ready for bed and go to sleep.
July 13th, 2017:
When I woke up, I once again wondered where Camilla was. This time, she had stayed on the hotel deck outside. I went down to her and I sat in an outdoor chair for 3 to 4 hours before going up to the room again until lunch.
Thomas with friends Borrowed from Camilla
The registry served lunch and after I finished eating, I hung out with Macy for a half hour until Macy went out for bowling and pizza. After that, I hung around with some friends didn’t want to go. Camilla and I also had a quick walk around the outside of the hotel. I also hung out at the pool.
Me with flowers Borrowed from Camilla
Me again with same flowers. Borrowed from Camilla
Me and Camilla with a few of the same flowers. Borrowed from Camilla
A beautiful flower. Borrowed from Camilla
A beautiful flower. Borrowed from Camilla
Macy had already gone to bed by the time I came out of the pool. I went to sleep shortly after midnight.
July 14th, 2017:
Camilla with a friend’s dog. Taken by a friends’ sister.
Me with Camilla’s friend. Borrowed from Camilla
I woke up and went down to the lobby to sit out on the hotel deck before it got too warm out. After I sat out there, I went up to the room to get 2 books to read on the couch before checking the time to wait for Macy. The registry provided/served lunch again.
Thomas playing the piano with his friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Thomas with his friend and me with Macy. Borrowed from Camilla
After lunch, I hung out with Macy a little before she went to the self-advocate room. I kept reading until Macy came back out and we hung out. We also went out to dinner at Jason’s Deli. After dinner, I hung out with Macy and her father. I also watched them play Monopoly Deal.
Thomas in the Jacuzzi Borrowed from Camilla
Me with a few friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Rebecca came by and wanted to play Monopoly Deal. I sat there for 3 straight hours before pointing out the time. So I went up to the room to get ready for bed and go to sleep.
July 15th, 2017:
Me and some friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Me, a friend, Camilla, and Chris Ulmer. Taken by a friend
Me with Chris Ulmer. Taken by Camilla
Camilla with a few of her friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Camilla with one of her friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
18p- Group Picture. Not sure who took the photo
I slept in late but managed to get down to the lobby before lunch. Again we went with Macy and her family to Jason’s Deli. After lunch, we separated ways for a little bit. During that time, I met Chris Ulmer and he interviewed me. Shortly after that interview, Camilla and I went up to the room to get ready for the group picture and the dance with the dinner. Camilla didn’t have time to style my hair before the group picture. I accidentally put on a too tight dress but didn’t have time to change into a more comfortable dress. After the group picture, Camilla and I went up to the hotel room so I could change into a more comfortable dress. Camilla styled my hair to look pretty. After I finished getting ready, I headed down to the lobby to see if Macy was there. I was about to get back on the elevator to ride up to go to the restroom when Macy got off the elevator and I made the decision to go to the closest restroom in the lobby instead. Macy and I chatted for a few minutes.
Macy and I. Borrowed from Camilla
Macy and I. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Me, Macy, and a friend. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Camilla with a few friends. Taken by a friend.
Me with one of Camilla’s friends. Taken by Camilla’s friend
Camilla with a friend. Taken by a friend
Camilla. me, and Chris Ulmer. Taken by a friend
Me with Camilla. Taken by a friend
Macy went up to ask her parents if they felt like playing Monopoly Deal. Of course, I watched. A few hours later, Macy headed up to the room with her parents so her parents could get ready. A few minutes later though, Macy came back down and she suggested we take a walk on a few hotel room floors. So we walked around on the 2nd and 3rd floor until Rebecca messaged me asking where I was. Macy and I headed back down to the lobby to the ballroom for dinner. We took our seats and many friends took pictures of us while we waited for dinner to come. After I finished dinner, I went on the dance floor for a little bit before heading to the restroom. I came back and was ready to dance more. Here are a few of the songs that played: Let It Go, We Are Family and Y.M.C.A. We danced for 3 hours straight while Macy went to bed 1 hour into the dancing. So Macy and I said our goodbyes. I was tired and could barely move or hear when the dance finally ended. So I got ready for bed and went to sleep.
July 16th, 2017:
Me and Thomas at the Riverwalk Borrowed from Camilla
Me. Taken by Camilla
Me, Camilla, and Thomas
Thomas in front of a tree. Taken by Camilla
Thomas. Taken by Camilla
I woke up late so I ended up having brunch. After I took a quick shower, we waited for the Marriott shuttle to take us near the Naperville Riverwalk. After we finished exploring, we went back to the hotel to wait for Lyft to come pick us up and drop us off at the Chicago Midway Airport. After we went through security which was pretty quick, we found a spot to stand while the airplane was being prepared to board a lot of people on including us. We got on the plane and waited for the plane to take off. Once, we lifted off I once again got honey roasted peanuts and had them with cereal and cashews. I also got a cup of apple juice. Camilla and Thomas took a nap while I watched the gorgeous sunset. After a while, I could see Reno’s highway. A few moments later we landed.
I went down the steps while Camilla and Thomas went down the escalator. We then found our luggage. After that, we headed out to our car to drive home. Once we got home, I dug out the most need items from my bag. I went to sleep in my very own bed peacefully.
Hi there! I’m doing a special blog post for Halloween but it’s a little late. Hope you enjoy anyway!
In Austria, some people will leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp on the dinner or kitchen table when they go to bed at night. The reason why they leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp on a dinner or kitchen table is that they believed by doing so the objects on the table would welcome the dead souls back to earth for this particular night is a night of strong cosmic energies. In Austria, Catholics celebrate the entire portion between October 30 and November 8 as Seleenwoche or All Souls’ Week.
On All Saints’ Day, Catholics attend church services in honor of the saints, the martyrs and those who have died for the Catholic faith. Some people may also visit their family’s graves to beautify the graves with wreaths and small lanterns. Sometimes, a mass is said at the gravesite and the grave is sprinkled with holy water.
On November 2nd which is All Souls’ Day, Catholics attend a special Requiem masses, where they can remember the people who may be close to them that have died. Prayers for the dead are said and votive candles are lit to honor their memories. In Belgium, people believed that it was bad luck for a black cat to cross your way.
Some people believed that it was unlucky for a black cat also to come into their homes or travel on their ships. In Belgium, people light candles in memory of their spiritless relatives. In Great Britain, everyone wants to welcome the friendly spirits with special soul-cakes for them.
When children in costumes called upon their neighbors’ homes on Halloween they would be given soul-cakes also! In some parts of Britain, Halloween was known as Mischief Night in the past. It was a night for mischief making.
People would take the doors off their hinges on that night. The doors were often tossed into ponds, or taken a long way away. In England, it is said that elves rode on the backs of the villagers’ cats. The cats had fun but the villagers didn’t and would lock their cats up so that the elves couldn’t catch the cats.
Children were told not to sit in the circles of yellow and white flowers where fairies have danced as they may be stolen by the fairies. It was also considered bad to sit under the hawthorn tree because the fairies loved to dance on the hawthorn tree and if the children saw them, their tempers would be prickled. In England, the black cat was considered to be good luck and a white cat was considered to be bad luck.
In England, children make punkies out of large beets. The children cut out a design of their choice into the beet. The children carry them through the streets and sing the Punkie Night Song afterward.
The children knock on doors and ask for money. In some parts of England, turnip Lanterns are placed on gateposts to protect homes from the evil spirits. In England, Halloween was nicknamed, Nutcracker Night or Snap Apple Night.
Families would sit before a great fire in the hearth, roasting nuts and eating apples. The families told stories and played holiday games. It was an evening of great fun and merriment.
In England, they continued to practice their deep-rooted, ancient pagan rites well after the arrival of Christianity in the middle of the sixth century. The Church fathers had become concerned that the popularity of non-Christian festivals was growing at the expense of Christian holy days. Pope Gregory I, in 601 issued a decree to his missionaries about the faith and customs of the people whom he wanted to convert to Christianity.
Gregory knew that it would be impossible to eradicate the beliefs of the natives totally and so suggested to his priests that they convert them whenever possible. If the native people worshipped at a well, or sacred grove, Gregory informed his missionaries to enshrine them to Christ and let the worship continue. Gregory’s successor Pope Boniface IV in 609, declared May 13 All Saints’ Day.
Unfortunately, while pagans were happy to add All Saints’ Day to their calendar, they were unwilling to give up their existing festival of the dead and continued to celebrate Samhain. Intent on eliminating the ongoing power of the pagan beliefs, Pope Gregory III followed in the footsteps of the earlier Christian leaders and intentionally united the Christian All Saints’ Day to the festival of Samhain. He then moved All Saints’ Day to November 1, which became more commonly known as All Hallows.
Because Samhain had traditionally fallen the night before All Hallows, it eventually became known as All Hallows’ Even’ or Halloween. Previous church leaders to Gregory III discouraged the Samhain tradition of wearing frightening costumes, but Gregory decided to allow people to dress up in honor of the saints. Other traditions, such as begging for food and kindling, were made legal by the Church, providing that any food that was given to the beggars would be given to the poor, rather than to appease the evil spirits.
The Church also added a second day to the festival that fell on November 2 and was called All Souls’ Day and was dedicated to the souls of those who are still left in purgatory. These souls had to endure the punishment of purgatory for their sins. It is believed that the lighting of candles and the saying of prayers for the dead would shorten the time they were to suffer in purgatory before they would rise to heaven.
The tradition of begging for food soon was replaced with souling or Soul Caking. The idea was for children to go from door to door asking for money to give to the poor and a soul cake to have for themselves. Every cake they would receive, the children would say a prayer for the souls of the dead.
Soul cakes were called several different names throughout England such as Saumas or soul mass cakes which were dark fruitcakes, another cake was covered in caraway seeds and made into a bun. In North England, the tradition of lighting bonfires was central to the Halloween celebration. Superstition was still very strong as a result of the aftermath of the witch-hunts; witches were believed to take to the air to harass everyone at Halloween.
Halloween was called Tan Day for the township of Lancashire. Tan Day was named as it was the Celtic tein, or fire and pitchforks full of burning hay were flung into the air to scare the witches. Another reason was the heat and the smoke of the bonfires would also drive away any airborne witches.
In Canada, people welcome trick-or-treaters by placing pumpkins called jack-o’-lanterns in their windows. Also in Canada, it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, enter your home, or even enter your ship. In Canada, people give trick-or-treaters treats to make sure they are not being played a trick on.
Children also make Jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. Dressing up as witches, ghosts and beasts for trick-or-treating is done also. It was believed these costumes would protect people from bad luck.
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.
This is how Halloween is said to have begun and is still celebrated today. Cats were considered by the Celts to be spirits and that cats could predict the future. In Ireland, the black cat was considered to be bad luck and if it crosses your path while walking or crosses the threshold of your home or ship it was considered bad luck.
In Ireland, children would cut scary faces into hollowed-out turnips, large rutabagas, or potatoes. Then place a candle inside them. Children once enjoyed throwing cabbages and turnips at doors at Halloween time.
Smashing bottles near windows was also done for fun. The Celts referred to Halloween as The Samhain Festival. It was during this time that you would lead your livestock home from summer pastures to the winter shelters.
Samhain Eve was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grew thinner, and ghosts ventured toward the warmth if people’s homes and hearths. On the Eve, the Celts built bonfires in memory of their departed ancestors and left food and drinks on their tables overnight for eating by the ghosts. The tenth-century abbot of Cliny Odile changed Samhain’s name to All Saints’ Day.
October 31 became All Hallows’ Eve or Hallowes’ Even, and eventually would become Halloween. Halloween is now for the children, whose practice of trick-or-treating has its roots in the English custom of soul-caking. From medieval times onward, poor people would beg door-to-door for spiced cakes that the householders would award as payment for prayers the beggars promised to say for the householders’ ancestors.
This song was referred to as the soul-cakers song. In Ireland, they continued to practice their deep-rooted, ancient pagan rites well after the arrival of Christianity in the middle of the sixth century.
The Church fathers had become concerned that the popularity of non-Christian festivals was growing at the expense of Christian holy days. In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh in which food and water are placed in front of photographs of relatives of people. Bonfires and lanterns are lit to light the spirits path back to earth.
Another Halloween festival is called 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.
The number of souls is usually increased by those who died unnatural deaths, and who may not have been given a proper burial or burial place which their families could visit in order to pay them respect. Other such Hungry ghosts that are abroad during this month are the spirits of people whose families had either died out or who showed no concern for their welfare in the beyond. Bereft of comfort, they feel abandoned and, lacking ancestral worship, may turn malignant and become powerful threats to the living.
The purpose of the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, is dedicated to the earthbound spirits. It’s purpose is to make them feel welcome and to satisfy their spiritual hunger. This will placate any possible anger they might have and gain their gratitude.
In the sacred ritual of the day, the spirits are offered joss sticks, food and gifts. The gifts that are made of paper represent objects with which they were familiar while on earth and are intended to make them feel at home. Paper money is burnt on their behalf, to pay for their expenses in the netherworld.
Fires are lit to light the way for the hungry ghosts and a gesture of welcome. In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside. There is a chair for each family member and one for each family member’s spirit.
In Germany, people put their knifes away. This has to be done so they don’t risk hurting the returning spirits.
In the regions of Bavaria, Austria, and Southern Germany, Catholics celebrate the entire period between October 30 and November 8 as Seleenwoche or All Souls’ Week. In Hong Kong, there is a festival similar to Halloween.
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.
In Italy, they make cakes in the shape of beans. These cakes are called Beans of the Dead. In Southern Italy, families prepare a special feast for the souls of the departed on All Souls’ Day.
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. In Italy, November 1 has become a public holiday. In Japan, O-Bon festival celebrates the memory of the dead relatives.
Food and water is placed in front of photos of the dead. Bonfires and lanterns light the spirits’ path back to earth. O-Bon celebrated by some people from July 13-15 and others from August 13-15, O-Bon gets its name from the Sanskrit word for “to hang upside down.”
It refers to a legend about a Buddhist monk who is deep in meditation was able to see his long-lifeless mother hanging upside down in the Buddhist equivalent of misery. This was her punishment for eating meat during her lifetime which is a Buddhist taboo and refusing to repent of it. The monk was holy enough to go to misery and buy his mother’s passage to Nirvana with some of his own excess goodness.
On the first day of O-Bon, people decorate their loved ones’ graves with fruit, cakes, and lanterns. On the second day, spirit altars or they are referred to tamadana are assembled at home. Atop a woven rush mat stand the ancestors’ memorial plaques, tempting vegetarian dishes, and cucumbers carved to represent horses on which the spirits are invited to ride.
On the third day, whole communities gather for the bon-odori, a hypnotic, slow dance that moves in concentric circles or multiple lines. Hundreds of people often dance together. As evening falls, tiny paper lanterns are set adrift on river or sea: these omiyage gently light the spirits way back to the other shore.
Buddhist Japanese remember their dead at the time in autumn of equal days and nights. The festival that is celebrated is called Higan. It is a time when people visit the graves of friends and family who are dead.
They tidy up the area and think about the dead people. In Mexico, they have picnic lunches on the graves of their relatives. As this is a day of remembrance, happiness and celebration.
They bake bread and make candy in the shape of skull and crossbones, a casket, or a skeleton. The children run through the streets with lanterns and ask for coins. People light bonfires, set off firecrackers, and hang lanterns on trees to guide the souls of the dead home.
In Mexico, All Saints’ Day is devoted to all the departed children. This is a prelude to November 2’s Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead which is a national holiday on which all the grown-up ghosts will be arriving in full force. The littler ghosts get a head start.
To help them find their way back to the homes where they once lived, parents and still alive family members often shoot off firecrackers. In some parts of Mexico on this night, they strew a path of flower petals from the graveyard to the front porch. Mexico’s Day of the Dead calls for happy all day picnics beside the graves of dead relatives.
At home, people assemble little altars called ofrendas, stocked with the departed loved ones favorite foods and drinks, their photos, and other memories, as well as candles and pungent marigolds, a flower long associated with death. The Mexican custom of Erecting Day of the Dead altars has caught on north of the border, where the altars serve as the focus of ancestor rituals and memorials.
In Mexico, October 27 is the Feast of the Holy Souls or Fiesta de las Santas Animas, families begin the fiesta by cleaning their relatives’ graves and adorning them with pine needles and flowers. The families assemble a temporary altar near the gravesite, stocking the altars with candles and all kinds of foods such as meat, beans, chilies, salt, tortillas, fruit and sometimes adult beverages. Each person in the family then takes turns in talking to the departed spirit, offering it the food and assuring it that it is loved.
The ceremonies go on for several days, as every family has more than one grave to attend to. In the United States, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by placing lighted pumpkins known as jack-o’-lanterns in their windows. The North American tradition of trick or treat comes from the original idea that you must be kind to dead ancestors or they will play a trick on you.
Neopagans of North America honor their ancestors on October 31. It was once believed that on this night any souls who had not yet passed into the paradise of the summer lands might return to wander the streets and visit their old homes once more. Neopagans celebrate the festival today as a turning point between the old and the new year, as well, the date of October 31 as the gateway between the worlds.
Many neopagans also believe that on the eve of Samhain, the veil that separates each world that of the living and that of the dead is at its thinnest and that on this night, there is a better chance of being successful in communicating with their ancestors. In the Philippines, people will light candles in the memory of their dead relatives. In Poland, doors and windows are left open to welcome the spirits or the visiting souls.
In Portugal, they have feasts of wine and chestnuts at the cemetery. In Portugal, they bake special sugar cakes with cinnamon and herb flavoring. Parentalia the Roman holiday dedicated to honoring dead family began precisely at the sixth hour on the thirteenth day of February and lasted a full nine days afterward.
These English parental days weren’t a spooky time for the average Roman citizen. Rather, these were days of obligation and feasting, quiet and respectful, introspective, like a wake. During the Parentalia, all temples were closed, weddings were forbidden, and governmental magistrates uncharacteristically appeared in public devoid of the insignia of their office.
People visited their parents’ and other relatives’ graves, bringing objects such as milk, wine, honey, oil, and spring water. Some brought sacrificial blood from the bodies of black animals. They decked the graves with roses and violets.
Dining with the dead at the grave site, the celebrant would offer the traditional greeting and farewell of the holiday which is Salve, sancte parens and Hail, holy ancestor. The Vestal virgins, the priestesses who tended the goddess Vesta’s shrine in the Forum performed rites of their own at the Parentalia. The senior Vestal paid a ceremonial visit to the group’s parental tomb which was the early Vestal, Tarpeia.
On May 9 is the Lemuria a festival held to remove the more hungry ghosts. The Lemuria is a festival held for homeowners to rid their homes of resident lemures. A celebrant would walk through the house barefoot at midnight walking from room to room with one hand upheld in the fig gesture which is the thumb held between the second and third fingers.
The celebrant’s mouth would be filled with dried black beans which he would spit out one by one as he walked. The beans were used as ghost bait. As he walked he would spit a black bean out and say the chant nine times: With these I redeem myself and mine.
The idea was that the lemures would be following him, eating the beans that had been spat out by the celebrant. While the celebrant was walking around with the ghosts following him people weren’t to look back during the ritual. Once the celebrant had come full circle, he would wash his hands thoroughly then he would beat brass pans together making as much noise as possible so as to bid the lemures leave.
A festival held called Feralia is much like the Day of the Dead ceremony. The name feralia comes from the verb ferre meaning to carry, or to ferry. The Roman families would go to the ancestral graveyard, ferrying offerings.
The reasons was that they believed the ghosts were hovering around the graves, so they take food to extinguish the pyres. Once the ancestors were honored and fed, comes the ceremony Caristia from the word Cara meaning dear. This was a holiday to re-affirm, a day of affectionate family reunions.
All fighting was forbidden, old feuds would be forgotten, and sibling rivalries would have to be set aside. In Russia, the blue cat is said to bring good luck. Blue cats like the Russian Blue, British Blue and Burmese.
In Scotland, Soul Cakes were known as Dirge Loaves and were flat, round buns of oat flour. Scottish superstitions ran deeper and darker than most. In memory of the fact that Scotland had been the only country to burn to death its supposed witches, children in Aberdeenshire would run around their villages, banging on doors and shouting.
This practice continued until the early twentieth century. Effigies of witches were burned on the Halloween bonfire. A dummy of an old woman called the shandy Dan was wheeled in a cart to the center of a large gathering of villagers and then tossed onto the fire with much celebration.
They also smashed bottles near windows. March 13-19 in Spain is Las Fallas which is in honor of St. Joseph whose feast day is on March 19. There are fireworks, bullfights, music, costumed revelers and parades.
Giant models of people or papier-mâché effigies called ninots are stuffed with fireworks and burned. The bonfires and burning of effigies is done to blazing away the last vestiges of winter and welcoming the glow of the summer Sun. In Australia, they celebrate Guy Fawkes Eve as the day for Halloween or as it is also known Mischief Night or Danger Night.
On this night, it is a day for children to create mischief by doing tricks or getting a treat. It is not widely done in Australia as it is in America and elsewhere, in fact most children in Australia celebrate it as dancing at their schools or in other activities. Not as a day to create lawless or other mischief.
In Estonia, folktales tell of unsuspecting people who wander into village churches on All Saints’ Day night only to find all the pews filled with ghosts who sit and kneel attentively while a ghostly priest celebrates mass at the altar. French bellmen would walk through the streets warning of the arrival of, “The spirits are about to arrive!” Once everyone heard this they would all hurry to bed and shut their eyes.
Today, the French children beg for flowers with which to decorate churches and the graves of loved ones. In Guatemala, the advent season is a time of men dressing up as the devil in costumes playfully chasing children through the streets. To bring the season to a close on December 7, people are to light bonfires in front of their homes.
They would toss accumulated garbage and other debris onto these. In the City, fireworks explode into the night. This event is called the Burning the Devil or La Quema del Diablo.
Saint Martin’s Day, November 11th, is a celebration in Holland has a lot in comparison to “trick-or-treating”. People in Holland go around getting treats by ringing on some doorbells, singing songs for which they are given sweets or tangerines. They go around with lanterns and here is one of the songs they sing:
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje,
Dat mijn lichtje.
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag.
Those were the words to the Sint Maarten Song. This is the story of why the Dutch celebrate Saint Martin. It was a dark and stormy night.
Martin was quite alone on that dark stormy night. He only had a cloak and a singular piece of bread. He was returning home when suddenly a poor and homeless man appeared in the darkness.
Martin felt pity for the man and gave him half his piece of bread, and half his cloak and offered him hospitality in his home. Now he is called Saint Martin and is known for his kindness to the stranger. That is why they celebrate Saint Martin’s Day.
It is popularly a night for mischief and is called Mischief Night or Danger Night, which is on November 5th. The Odo Festival is held to mark the return of the dead which is the Odo to those still living, this occurs in the village of Igbo, Nigeria. The festival has three stages.
The first stage is observed with ritual celebrations and festivities to welcome those returning from the spirit world. The spirits stay for six or more months. Their departure is an emotional affair as they will not return for two years.
There are Odo plays featuring different characters in costumes. Most roles are by men with women as chorus members and as spectators. Children in Sicily go to bed on November 1 well aware that outside, in all the graveyards, the dead are rising from their tombs and coming like Santa Claus to deliver candies, cookies, and gifts to leave for them in celebration of All Saints’ Day.
On All Souls’ Day, the Sicilian chefs mark the holiday with almond-flavored “bones of the dead”, bone-shaped biscotti, with molded-sugar dolls, and with fave dei Morti, little Venetian cookies in the shapes of fava beans, a legume associated since ancient times with rites of the dead. Vu-Lan or Wandering Souls’ Day is a festival celebrated by all Vietnamese. When a person dies, it is believed their soul goes to inferno where it is judged and, depending on the person’s behavior on earth, is sent to heaven or kept in inferno.
Souls in inferno can gain release by the prayers of the living. Wandering Souls’ Day is the best time for these rituals. Inferno’s gates are opened at sunset and the bare hungry souls fly out, returning to the family altars.
Tables are spread with a meal for the ancestors and ‘wandering souls’, and incense sticks and votive papers are burned. This takes place in large rooms or outdoors so there is plenty of room for the ‘wandering souls’ who have no relatives, or whose relatives have forgotten them. In Wales, people build Halloween fires on the Vigil of Samhain.
The celebration is very somber. Each of the family is to write his or her name on a white stone which is then thrown in the fire. Then all of the family members march around a fire, praying for good fortune.
The next morning, after the fire has died out, each member sifts through the ashes to search for the stone. If any stone is missing, it means that the spirits will call upon the soul of that person during the coming year.