Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Tracy Garrett | Happy “All Hallows Eve”
Uncategorized / October 31, 2008

Most everyone knows that Halloween, October 31, is the day before All Saints or All Hallows Day. But did you know that some of our modern traditions grew from the ancient Celts more than 2000 years ago? The Celtic festival of Samhain, or the Feast of the Dead, celebrates the day when summer ends and winter begins. It is believed to be the day when the dead revisit the mortal world. Carving pumpkins—or jack-o-lanterns—dates from the 18th century, when a blacksmith named Jack consorted with the devil and was condemned to wander the earth as punishment. He begged the Devil for some light and was given a burning coal, which he placed inside a hollowed-out turnip. When the Irish came to the United States during the great potato famine, the practice of keeping a turnip with a candle in it in the window to ward off the Halloween demons came with them. Since pumpkins were easier to get here than turnips, the substitution was made and a new tradition was born and shared. Wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On Samhain night, when the living and the dead were at their closest, the Celtic Druids would dress up…

Tracy Garrett | Thanksgiving
Uncategorized / November 21, 2007

Just the word elicits memories. For me, it’s years of gathering with the family and inviting new friends into the fold; waking up to the scent of roasting turkey – an arguable pleasure at 6am; long-standing traditions of Sara Lee Coffee Cake with my parents and siblings; and sitting down at a table laden with, and surrounded by, the evidence of the many blessings in my life. Being a historical writer, you know I won’t pass up the opportunity to do a little research on the holiday in the United States. Thanksgiving, as we know it, is an amalgamation of many traditions, going far back in European history, when farmers celebrated the end of the harvest and gave thanks for the success of another growing season. Do you know when (and where) the earliest Thanksgiving was celebrated in the United States – back before we were states, or united? No, not Plymouth (or Plimoth), Massachusetts, as we were taught in grade school. The earliest claim to a celebration of Thanksgiving was by the Spanish around El Paso, Texas. According to several sources, on April 30, 1598, Spanish expedition leader, Juan de Oñate, declared a day of rest for his party….