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Erbil gets spooky with Halloween spirit

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Erbil gets spooky with Halloween spirit

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:39 am

Mexico City's Day of the Dead parade
barriers between the living and the dead break down
A parade was held in Mexico City on Saturday evening to honour the start of the annual Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.

Please click to enlarge
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It is only the third time a parade like this has been held in Mexico's capital.

It was launched in 2016, inspired by a similar scene set in the city in the James Bond film Spectre.

Organisers hoped the parade would serve as a tourist attraction for visitors looking to witness local celebrations.

This year the parade was themed around migration.

The city's government dedicated the parade to migrants who have lost their lives in transit, at a time when thousands from across Central America are currently travelling in a caravan through the country.

One part of the parade had people carrying parts of a border wall, which said (in Spanish): "On this side there is also a dream."

Día de Muertos is usually held on 2 November and is a time when families honour deceased loved ones in the belief their souls return to earth to be with them.

People celebrate it in different ways across Mexico's regions, and customs can vary from family to family.

Some honour their loved ones with candles, their favourite foods and floral tributes in cemeteries, while others build shrines in their own homes.

Skull imagery, costumes and body paint may also play a part - and these have become the iconic Day of the Dead images that have been exported around the world at Halloween time.

Catrina figures, which have a skeleton appearance and formal dress, featured prominently in Saturday's parade.

Despite the drizzly conditions, thousands attended the Mexico City event, which was also broadcast on television.

Local media report that 1,200 volunteers took part in the spectacle of colour, costume and music.

The parade acknowledged the region's past, including Aztec traditions like human sacrifice, and the migration routes of the early inhabitants of Central America.

Significant Mexican cultural figures, including singer Chavela Vargas and artist Frida Kahlo, were also honoured at the event.

A similar parade was also held in the city of Guadalajara, in western Mexico.

Organisers were expecting thousands of spectators at the event, which also had live music, artists and jugglers taking part.

In Los Angeles, California, people also dressed up in Day of the Dead-inspired costumes for the 19th annual event held in the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery.

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Link to Article and LARGE number of Photos

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-46008672
Last edited by Anthea on Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Erbil gets spooky with Halloween spirit

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Re: In pictures: Mexico City's Day of the Dead parade

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:13 am

Halloween 2018 meaning:
What is the spiritual meaning behind Halloween?


HALLOWEEN is believed to be the one night of the year when the barriers between the living and the dead break down – but what is the spiritual meaning of the spooky celebrations?

Halloween is observed worldwide every year by children donning costumes, carving pumpkins and collecting sweet treats from their neighbours.

But the commercialised Halloween celebrations are deeply rooted in ancient Gaelic pagan festivals.

The history of Halloween dates back more than 2,000 years to the Celts and is symbolic of the cycle of life and death.

The most notable link to Halloween is the festival of Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season and ushers in the start of winter.

Samhain is traditionally observed on the night of October 31 and November 1 when spiritual activity is believed to be at its highest.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a US guidebook to weather, astronomy and holiday, the holiday was a very significant night for the Celts.

The book explained: “The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, thereby making it the ideal time to communicate with the deceased and to divine the future.

“Following the triumph of the Roman Empire over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century AD, the Romans combined many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own.

“This day evolved into All Hallows’ Day or Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify.

“Years later, the Roman Catholic Church designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honour of all Catholic saints.”

Some astrologers believe the start of November 1 is a powerful date to communicate with the dead because it is the first day of the 11th month – the number 111.

This particular number represents three pillars, with the one in the middle symbolising a veil or barrier between two worlds.

On the night of Halloween, this veil is lifted or weakened enough to let the living and the dead mix together.

Many of these associations were adopted over the years into a more family-friendly format, giving children an opportunity to dress up as monsters, witches and all sorts of haunts.

Today, some will look at Halloween and think about its astrological significance as the days grow shorter and the nights get longer.

Halloween takes place each year with the Sun going through the astrological sign of Scorpio.

Scorpio in the zodiac symbolises transformation, which can be interpreted to mark the transition from life to death.

But it will also signify the physical changes in the landscape occurring around the end of October and start of November.

Astrologer Avia Venefica, said the “sacred holiday's” symbolic meaning of transition points towards the climate changing, leaves browning on trees and the days becoming shorter and colder.

Because of this, she argued Samhain required a “great deal of faith” from ancient pagans who were preparing their communities for winter.

She said: “This time of year, particularly around Samhain and Halloween – October 31st – implied a lot of unknowns.

“Would there be enough meat to last the winter? What if the winter was longer than usual, and provisions run out?

“What if a sickness runs through the clan, and there aren’t enough dried herbs to cure everybody through the winter? Lots of question marks there.”

Link to Article - Photo:

https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/10 ... ve-samhain
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Re: Samhain/Halloween barriers between the living and dead t

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:46 pm

Witches do 'spell work' tonight
(including me ANTHEA for I am a natural born witch from a family of witches)

Denise, a member of Helen Davidson's coven, started practising witchcraft last year, says she "felt different to everybody else"

Tonight, after they have finished work and the sun has set, a group of women will gather at one of their homes.

But this is no ordinary girls' night in. This is a coven of witches, and 31 October - Halloween - is their new year.

Denise Frain, who lives in Bolton, Greater Manchester, is hosting.

"I have got a fire outside and we will do certain spell work. We'll sit in a circle for protection, then we will celebrate and put food on the altar for the ancestors."

The witches have been preparing for today. They've visited a nearby cemetery and written down names from graves which look old, overgrown or unattended. They will read out the list at tonight's ritual. Helen's shrine has a number of old photographs surrounded by pine cones and leaves

Helen Davidson, 44, who runs this coven, explains that all members are "hedgewitches" - solo witches who do not follow an organised faith like Wicca.

"Hedgewitches don't pray to a specific god," she explains. "We just love being around nature."

She says in the past, she'd have been known as a "wise woman".

"It's kind of like that crazy little lady who lived down the road who knows a lot about herbs and concoctions."

"I seem to be quite good at protection or banishing spells," she says.

"I helped one of the witches not that long ago. She had to end a relationship and it was not nice for her.

"I said, what we need to do is protect you from this person, to keep them well out of your life and do a cleansing around the house.

"A few weeks later, that person left the town to never be seen again. Sometimes things like that are needed."

The witches also practise knot magic, which entails tying knots at different points along a piece of string or ribbon.

"It's a way of focusing an energy on a specific task," Helen says. "The more and more concentration you put into something the better results you have."

And what about love potions?

"We are capable of doing love spells," Helen says. "It's not something I would shy away from".
'Let nature take it's course'

But she adds: "There's no witch powerful enough on this Earth to make someone who doesn't want to fall in love, fall in love.

"It's trying to force something on them that perhaps shouldn't happen. My first question would be: 'does that person show an interest in you?'

"But if it's to give something a boost, to give them the confidence, then great."

She says: "I say, 'do you have a chess piece of a king and queen in your home or something to represent male and female?' You put them either end of a bookshelf or mantelpiece and each day bring them closer together.

"When they meet in the middle, if it feels you can then make it happen, let nature take its course."

Denise, 48, says she always felt like a witch from an early age - "I felt different to everybody else".

But she didn't start practising witchcraft until last year, because she was worried that her three children - who are now grown up - might get bullied at school.

Helen says her family accepted her becoming a witch straight away, although she says her daughter "used to take the mick".

She now runs a craft business called Bespoke Bewitched, and says she was drawn to witchcraft after growing up in Cornwall, where she was surrounded by nature.

"I always like to be outside as much as I can be," she says. "Over the years it dawned on me that I would prefer an Earth-based religion."

Spells to stop snakes

A "direct connection with nature" is also important to Matt Rowan, a male hedgewitch from Southfields in south-west London.

The 45-year-old security manager became a witch after feeling he didn't fit with Christianity.

He says, rather than the magic, being a witch allows him to step into a "protective and nurturing role".

Matt Rowan says he feels comfortable outdoors, and loves feeding birds in parks

"As a witch, I have a responsibility to look out for people. Being there to listen and give advice, that's an important part," he says.

Matt says he prefers the label of "witch" rather than the male equivalent of "warlock" because of the negative connotations.

But, he says, he generally does not tell anyone as people "will think you are more eccentric".

But he and his husband - also a witch - have performed protection and healing spells in the past.

"A lot of spell work is with visualisation and positive energy," he says. "You charge up an item, usually a crystal, with positive energy.

"I had a friend who was moving to Australia and was terrified of snakes. So I found this little crystal carving of a snake and charged it.

"He hasn't been bitten yet… whether that's luck or anything to do with me I don't know!"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46026349
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Re: Halloween/Samhain/New Year: witches do spell work tonigh

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:34 am

Erbil gets spooky with Halloween spirit

On All Hallows' Eve, students and instructors alike gathered at the University of Kurdistan Hewler to celebrate the event with a party aimed at bring the youth together

"The purpose of Halloween, it's a worldwide international event, especially in the US," said Vanity Arsalan, president of the student union at UKH. "It gathers the youth with the same purpose of gathering together and changing into different characters."

Arsalan said they wanted to bring people together and inject "some joy and fun and different characteristics within the university life."

This is the first time in four years UKH has held a Halloween party.

"The youth today are more into parties and social events so it was a good chance for the student union to bring them together," she said.

Students and instructors enjoyed music and dancing along with Halloween themed decorations and food.

The party also included face painting, a haunted house and even a mock grave yard set up outside.

"We'll also being giving gifts for the best costumes," Arsalan added.

More than 1,000 partyers came out to celebrate Halloween at a separate event at Family Mall.

"Today we are celebrating Halloween," said Rawand Husen, marketing manager at Family Mall. "We are very happy that we were the first shopping mall in Kurdistan and Iraq to celebrate Halloween."

Husen said it has been an annual event since 2011 and has grown more each year.

"Today there are more than 1,000 people here. Kids, adults, females, males. This is very exciting that you can see the families here," he said.

People danced to live music and kids enjoyed a magic show.

"This is a very special event to this area," said grade 12 student Mohammed who had his face painted. "We can open a door about Halloween in Kurdistan."

Noor, 28, and her friend came all the way from Mosul to join the party.

"I'm so happy today. I came here with my friend for the celebration and we are having fun," she said.

"I came last year and it was very fun so I came again to celebrate."

Husen from Family Mall said it is important for the Kurdistan Region to connect with international events.

"Our aim is to create a good environment, a good time, joyful time for the people here,” he said.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/311020182
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