Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween all around

The time has come for one of my favorite holidays - Halloween (also known as HallOUween).

I'm sitting at work thinking about how excited I am for Halloween, and the festivities that will ensue in the next 24-hours. It got me to thinking about other cultures (and our own) and their Halloween...

Mexico: Day of the Dead (El dia de los muertos)
The day of the dead focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family who have died. It is typically celebrated on November 1 or 2. People build altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds and favorite foods of the deceased. Although it occurs close to Halloween, it is actuall celebrated in correlation with All Souls Day and All Saints Day.
In China, people offer water and food and light lanterns in order to guide the spirits of deceased loved ones on Halloween. The purpose is to remember loved ones, but also to help lost spirits go safely to Heaven.

In Japan, Halloween is called the Obon Festival. Here, food is prepared and lanterns are hung on houses and boats and rivers to show spirits where their families are. Japanese families clean memorial stones of lost family members. Unlike our Halloween, the Japanese celebrate this holiday in July/August.

Origins of the Halloween we know...
The word Halloween originated in the 16th century and represents a Scottish version of the phrase "All Hallows Eve". The Halloween we know is celebrated here, in England, Canada and Ireland.

According to historian Nicholas Rodgers, it is believed that Halloween originated from the aincent Celtic festival of Samhain, (derived from the Irish word meaning, "summer's end"). The festival celebrated the end of the "lighter half" of the year and the beginning of the "darker half". The Celts believed that the border between our world and the "other world" became thin during this time, allowing both good and bad spirits to pass through. Family ancestors were invited into homes and honored. It was believed that wearing costumes and masks warded off harmful spirits.

The Celts also used this time to slaughter livestock for the winter, and bonfires were a large part of this celebration because the bones of the slaughtered livestock were thrown into the flames.

The Pumpkin:
In traditional Celt celebrations, turnips were hollowed out and carved, and candles were inserted to commemorate souls in purgatory and ward off evil spirits. Carving pumpkins is popular in North America because pumpkins are larger and more readily available.

Trick-or-treat dates back to the Middle Ages, and resembles the late midevil practice of souling when poor people would go door-to-door on Hallowmans (Nov. 1) and recieve food in return for prayers for the dead.

Athens Halloween:
Our Halloween block party hosts from 20-30,000 people across four blocks of downtown streets. It is the third largest block party in the country. Thanks to Athens, Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays... This year, I'm going as Amelia Earhart.. one of my absolute favorite role models.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Late night rambling.

As I sit in the library at 2am on a Tuesday, anxiously stressing over the two midterm exams I have Thursday (which also happens to be the day I leave for DC, see where the stress comes from?) I couldn't help but think of a tweet that one of my favorite artists, Jason Mraz retweeted from one of his followers the other day...

"RT @sarahc33 because I know these two tests I'm taking today don't define who I am... it's what I do afterward that does."
She is SO right. While my grade on these exams matters to my current life and what I'm immersed in right now, they don't define me. Why stress out so much over something that will be over in just a few hours time? These exams do not make or break my life. While this does not mean I'm not going to be studying anymore, I am going to calm down about them. And look at all I have to look forward to afterward - I get to drive to Morgantown, WV and then Washington, D.C. with some of my best friends and spend a week there learning about my future career (don't worry, there WILL be a post about it all).

No more stress for me. Just breathe everyone - this week will be over soon.

Stay positive!

Monday, October 11, 2010


It's finally fall!:) Officially my favorite season! It felt so good to be flying over and driving through W.Va. this weekend, which, in my opinion has the most beautiful fall foliage.
College football, beautiful hikes, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, scarves, boots, hay rides, carving pumpkins, corn maze's - how could you ever complain?

Here are some inspirational fall things to (hopefully) make your Monday a little more bearable:
(Image Courtesty: Polish my Crown)

Smile and stay positive as you get through the week! Here are some lyrics from one of my favorite jason Mraz songs:

I thank the galaxy for how it made up gravity

I thank the sky for hosting clouds to float on top of me

they gave me air to breath

they give me rain

they give me snow

they shaped my life they gave me so much room to grow;

I learned that it’s ok for some to go and some to stay,

they shaped my life

they made me love who I am today;

and I know that life is good

Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning about myself..

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about myself. But before you go thinking I'm selfish, hear me out. I am on the ImPRessions account for the school of journalism, and this week we've been picking freshman to blog about their experience as freshman in the jschool. This lead me to think about the person I was as a freshman, and ultimately helped me realize how much I have changed from two years ago. I don't know when I realized just how much I've grown, but I have become increasingly aware of it. Regardless, I'm glad I've finally realized who I am, and who I want to be. Knowing who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe in allows decision-making in all aspects of my life to be virtually effortless, as well as making my like seem more fulfilled, and just makes me a generally happy and positive person.

Also, I found these questions that someone on a blog I follow answered about themselves, and thought it would be interesting to do them myself..

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A perfect fall day, feeling carefree.

What is your greatest fear?
I think getting old, and death.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I admire Coco Chanel very much, although our lives are in no way similar. I also hugely admire Queen Elizabeth I and Amerlia Earhart. See a trend?

Which living person do you most admire?
I really do admire Lady Gaga. Say what you want, but she's true to herself. Also, my dad.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I stress very easily.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I dislike when people lack passion about something in their lives.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes. Good coffee. Sunny weather.

On what occasion do you lie?
When I know I won’t feel guilty about it.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
mmm... I don't have a flat stomach.

When and where were you happiest?
Summertime in high school when I had absolutely nothing to do. Also, being a little kid sitting in the living room staring at the Christmas tree late at night.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I stress out about things too much.

If you could change one thing about your family what would it be?
That some of them don't get along.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Figuring out who I am (although its a constant process), and finishing my undergrad in three years.

If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?
a 1940's movie star, a flapper in the 20's.

What is your most treasured possession?
Probably the doll I've had since I was 2.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Total dependence on others, having no one who cares about you.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Definitely my dad. He's awesome.

What is it that you most dislike?
People who lack goals and drive.

How would you like to die?
Unafraid, accepting, fulfilled

What is your motto?
"The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude."