Welcome to the Halloween Edition of the Carnival of the Cats -- this year ornamented with Halloweenish, cat-like photos from Flickr. And speaking of photos, if you would like your cat(s) to appear on the Carnival Of The Cats homepage banner, send some JPEG photos that are 200x150, 320x240 or 640x480 to laurence (at) isfullofcrap.com. Any additional notes about the cat would be helpful so he can add them to the cat's gallery caption.
And, Ferdy/Bruce are building a blogroll for catbloggers, so go check it out. I have one here, but must confess that I've not updated it in ages. You might also enjoy my CATS page, which I see is also out-of-date.
This day, as is often the case with holidays, is a secularization of an ancient, sacred celebration:
Cats were -and still are- regarded as magickal creatures throughout the
ages. The Egyptians revered the cat as an aspect of the goddess, Bast,
and they mummified cats with all the ritual, pomp and circumstance that
befitted such regal animals. Cats are depicted as drawing the heavenly
chariots of various gods and goddesses in other cultural myths as well.
because of their decidedly nocturnal habits, felines have become
associated with the night, stealth and mystery . . .
Inquisitions or "Burning Times' of the witchcraft trials and
persecutions, cats were often tortured and killed along with the
accused "witches." It was thought that witches could change into
(shape-shift) cats or that cats could be possessed by evil spirits. The
howl of a cat on the prowl has undoubtedly frightened more than one
nocturnal traveler on a darkened footpath and the fact that cats seem
to delight in sneaking up on folks hasn't helped their public relations
image one bit either.
OK, so I'm mixing things up a bit. Here is some history about Samhain:
Hallowe'en has its origins in the British Isles. While the modern
tradition of trick or treat developed in the U. S., it too is based on
folk customs brought to this country with Irish immigrants after 1840.
Since ancient times in Ireland, Scotland, and England, October 31st has
been celebrated as a feast for the dead, and also the day that marks
the new year. Mexico observes a Day of the Dead on this day, as do
other world cultures. In Scotland, the Gaelic word "Samhain"
(pronounced "SAW-win" or "SAW-vane") means literally "summer's end."
Other names for this holiday include:
All Hallows Eve ("hallow" means "sanctify"); Hallowtide; Hallowmass;
Hallows; The Day of the Dead; All Soul's Night; All Saints' Day (both
on November 1st).
For early Europeans, this time of the year
marked the beginning of the cold, lean months to come; the flocks were
brought in from the fields to live in sheds until spring. Some animals
were slaughtered, and the meat preserved to provide food for winter.
The last gathering of crops was known as "Harvest Home, " celebrated
with fairs and festivals.
In addition to its agriculture
significance, the ancient Celts also saw Samhain as a very spiritual
time. Because October 31 lies exactly between the Autumnal Equinox and
the Winter Solstice, it is theorized that ancient peoples, with their
reliance on astrology, thought it was a very potent time for magic and
communion with spirits. The "veil between the worlds" of the living and
the dead was said to be at its thinnest on this day; so the dead were
invited to return to feast with their loved ones; welcomed in from the
cold, much as the animals were brought inside. Ancient customs range
from placing food out for dead ancestors, to performing rituals for
communicating with those who had passed over.