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Jane-O-Lantern: Picture Your Pumpkin Two Ways

The celebration now known as Halloween has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, one of the four Druid “Bonfire” festivals. Celebrated on November 1, midway between the Autumn and Winter Solstices, some scholars believe that it marked the end of the old year and start of the new. Samhain (pronounced sów-en) was not a god to be worshipped, but rather a term meaning “The End of Summer”. It was at this time that the harvest was brought in, preparations for winter completed, debts were settled and the dead buried before the coming winter. In the highly superstitious Celtic culture, it was also believed that at this time when “a new year was being stitched to the old” the veil between the present world and the next was especially thin, allowing the spirits of the departed, both good and evil to roam.

Because of this belief, October 31 became a highly superstitious night. Some used the opportunity to entreat the dead for guidance in the coming year. Others carried on traditions involving the revelation of one’s sweetheart or good fortune for the coming year. Towards the close of the evening priests and townsfolk, dressed as spirits would parade through the village in order to lead the wandering ghosts back to their resting places. Far from being a burning Hell, the Celtic “underworld” was a place of light and feasting, much more akin to the Christian ideal of Heaven.

As it was also the close of the year, the bonfire, kindled by the priests served an extra purpose. Each villager would let their hearth fire die out that night to be lit afresh by embers from the bonfire, symbolizing a new year and hope for prosperity. During the night of spooks and ghosts, homes would be lit by rustic lanterns carved from turnips (known early on as neeps) beets and rutabagas. Pumpkins would be used later, as they were brought to Europe from the New World in the 17th century. These flickering lights were set out in hopes of welcoming home friendly souls and chasing away the evil spirits who wandered that night.

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A Wash for the Hair


Egg Whites (even in the form of Mayonaise) have long been used in conjuncture with hair washing to give a glossy shine. This receipt, from the Mirror of Graces, printed in 1811, makes good use of them. In a time when hair washing was at a minimum and pomades made of lard and grease were widely used, shampoo (a word which dates back to 1768) a soap especially for hair was a delight instead of the harsh lye soaps traditionally used.

The term and service was introduced by a Bengali entrepreneur Sake Dean Mahomed, who opened a shampooing bath known as ‘Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths’ in Brighton, England in 1759. His baths were like Turkish baths where clients received an Indian treatment of champi (shampooing) or therapeutic massage. His service was appreciated; he received the high accolade of being appointed ‘Shampooing Surgeon’ to both George IV and William IV.

During the early stages of shampoo, English hair stylists boiled shaved soap in water and added herbs to give the hair shine and fragrance. Kasey Hebert, a London entrepreneur, was the first known maker of shampoo, and the origin is currently attributed to him.

Wash for the Hair
This is a cleanser and brightener of the head and hair, and should be applied in the morning.
Beat up the whites of six eggs into a froth, and with that annoint the head close to the roots of the hair. Leave it to dry on; then wash the head and hair thoroughly with a mixture of rum and rose-water in equal quantities.
The Mirror of Graces
, by a Lady of Distinction, 1811

It’s worth a try…..

Historical information from Wikipedia.com

 

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