October 30, 2015

Guest Promo(CXIII) E Ayers on Halloween

I am delighted to welcome today E  Ayers with a guest post on Halloween and a book that perfectly fits the topic.



Thanks for inviting me to your blog. It’s October and I always think of it as the death month. Morbid? Maybe. But it’s sort of the natural cycle of life. Just as so many annual plants have succumbed to a frosty death, and the leaves fallen from the trees, that cycle is repeated with humans. Over the years, many friends have buried their aged parents in the month of October, and my own parents and in-laws, many years apart, were buried in October.

Is it something leftover from when we first walked the Earth? Before the winter cold struck and froze the ground to the point when burial was impossible? I’ve asked a few doctors about it. They get that deer-in-the-headlamps stare as they ponder the question. Most have responded with an affirmative about death striking the elderly more frequently in September, October, and November. Then others give that politically correct answer that there is no such thing, and it’s an old wives tale.

So here’s my question to those in the southern hemisphere, do you have more deaths of the elderly in your autumn months?

Somewhere back in time, my ancestors celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, and before that, Samhain. (Commonly pronounced sow-win or sah-when depending on dialect - I've detected a dozen pronunciations of the time frame but none are pronounced sam-hane, which is what is commonly heard today.) Samhain marked the end of harvest. Only two seasons were recognized back then, summer and winter. People believed that the spirits were active after the harvest, possibly concerned that their families had enough to survive the winter. It was also believed that the spirits created a little mischief for those who didn't measure up. A chair was brought to the table for those past relatives as a way of showing off the bountiful harvest, hoping to appease the spirits of those who once lived. No one wanted to be harassed by the spirits of the past.

Over the years, the tradition evolved. Samhain was replaced with All Hallows’ Eve, which Christianity pushed to the side, and the evening became the Eve of All Saints’ Day and a time to pray for past relatives, martyrs, saints, etc. (Was that a surprise?)

Come forward to modern times and we have Halloween and it has become a holiday for children, no matter how young or old! Here in the United States, some families go all out to decorate their porches and yards. Children Trick or Treat or go to Halloween parties. Dressed as their favorite princess, TV or movie star, cartoon character, or superhero, the children roam their neighborhood looking for houses giving out candy and catching up with their friends.

Even the idea of dressing in costume for Trick or Treating has its roots in pagan times. During Samhain, they called it guising or mumming. And the people who did it went door to door reciting poems and asking for food while they carried a turnip that was hallowed out and made into a lantern. Slowly that tradition moved to the English Boxing Day when people were visiting with family and neighbors.

Early American immigrants brought the traditions with them. It didn’t take long for the good-natured fun to spread from small pockets in the cities to the outlying areas, small towns, etc.

It was in the late 1700's and early 1800’s that the mumming in the USA got a little rowdy with lots of gunshots, etc. There were several attempts to outlaw it. A compromise was finally struck, and the adults who embraced mumming were forced to become organized groups with permits to “parade.” That’s really when Halloween became a child’s holiday.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the adults who carried on the tradition of mumming became known as "Mummers" and paraded on New Year’s Day, known as the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. It is a joyful event filled with music and dance. Those mummers spend an entire year creating costumes and practicing while playing instruments or dancing in those elaborate costumes that often weigh several hundred pounds.

It's been hundreds of years from the pagan harvest festivals to today’s Halloween and the Mummer’s Parade; things have evolved but not that much. We just don't worry about appeasing our ancestors. But the cycles in nature have remained. We decorate our homes with fall harvests of pumpkins, squash, apples, and the colorful leaves of the season. Our children dress in disguises and go door-to-door looking for treats. The culmination of autumn and harvest is celebrated with Thanksgiving. And we refer to our elderly as being in the autumn of their lives.

When my time comes to leave this world, I hope it is in the autumn. I don't want to go in the cold, bleak winter, or during the spring, which is always filled with hope of a new season. Nor do I want to go with fireworks in the blasted heat of summer. Let me go surrounded with nature's last hurrah of my favorite colors, as we settle down to face the winter. Let the Mother Nature's natural cycle be mine.

I love the autumn months, and they are filled with personal highs and lows. A few years back, I jumped at the chance to write a fall romance. And considering I met my husband in October and married him in November, I happen to think autumn is a very romantic time. A Skeleton at Her Door is that fall romance. It's filled with some Halloween fun, a dash of sexy, some serious moments, the joy of family for Thanksgiving, and a whole lot of love!

Buy link  Amazon
About the author
 E. Ayers is a multi-published and Amazon best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle. She is proud to be part of the Authors of Main Street, an elite group of award-winning and best-selling contemporary authors.
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21 comments:

  1. A very interesting post and I think you are probably right about the autumnal deaths. As a student I lodged with the family of an undertaker. He always said if the old people lasted through the winter to the end of February they would make it through another year. The book looks like a great read.

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    1. Hi, Daisy, we never really know when our end is coming, thank goodness! But for the elderly September through November are the months that tend to claim them. Unfortunately no one is allowed to die of old age anymore. They must attach some sort of fancy medical diagnosis to each death.

      My own dad went into the hospital because he wasn't feeling well. They admitted him and began to do all sorts of testing but they hadn't found anything when he died. They listed heart failure on the death certificate. Okay. They had already determined that his heart was in great shape. He died of old age! He was in his 90's.

      It's a fun little read. And that opening scene really happened to me! I just added what-if and I had a story!

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    2. Sometimes the pattern changes. My grandfather, my mother and her sister died in summer. But you and the author are right. Most deaths occur during autumn/winter. Perhaps the cold weather and the gloomy atmosphere have an important part.

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  2. Hi, everyone! It's fun to be here! I've crossed the pond a few times to visit some author blogs in the UK but I've never gone this far!

    I also know that Halloween is not celebrated all over the world, so do you celebrate it? How and where do you live?

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    1. Welcome to my blog!
      I have just started reading the book and I like it from the very beginning!
      How interesting that it happened to you - the beginning scene. I always say that life is the best source of inspiration for authors.
      No, we don't have Halloween here in Romania. After 1989, it entered our country, too, but in a,in my opinion, twisted way. It is all about heavy drinking in clubs and young people there wearing fangs, masks and being dressed as vampires, witches, etc.
      I will have a post, around the end of November, on St Andrew's Night - a sort of Romanian Halloween. Mostly in rural areas.

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    2. It was my youngest daughter who said, that's not... So who did I drag into my house? A perfect stranger and I never saw him again!

      There are plenty of adult parties here with fangs, capes, and witches hats. :-) But our rules are strict about drinking and driving.

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  3. Death month... hmm. I live in the south, but I'm from the north. Most of our loved ones (in the north) seem to have winter deaths. Wonder if it's a regional thing?

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    1. North/South? Which country? I'm in the USA on the Atlantic coast right in the middle, yet it is called the South here. I'm also from the North.

      Actually the first time I ever heard anything about October being the death month, it came from a geriatric doctor. Since then, I've heard it a gazillion times. I've known people connected to nursing homes and they've said no difference in death rates. Could it be that those people just have other stuff wrong with them?

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    2. Thanks for dropping by Stacy!
      I also replied to your comment at Mae's blog.

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  4. A very cool detailed look at the origins and traditions of Halloween. Also interesting thoughts on the passing of our elderly. I lost my mother in June (I'm from the north), but I always said it was because summer wanted to claim her.

    And the book sounds delightful. I love the cover!

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    1. Thanks, Maeclair. I wish I knew how to put a cell phone in his hand. :-)

      It really does fit the story.

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    2. Thank you for checking the post and leaving a comment, Mae! I'm sure the author is glad.

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  5. Wonderful post! I've always thought of this month as shedding the old and embracing the new. A rebirth, and death is only the beginning. Wishing you all the best with your book, E. Ayers. :)

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    1. Thank you, Mary. It's actually an "old" book of mine, but it's the perfect read for this time of year!

      Yes, a beginning. As the leaves fall, their old life is gone, now they become compost which will nourish the tree. And eventually they will become the dirt that will hold seeds.

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    2. Thanks Mary for welcoming E Ayers!
      She has an interesting post and a perfect book for the time of the year/ Happy Halloween!

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  6. Lots of good Halloween history, E. Maybe it all proves that people of all ages love to dress up and also to try to trick or scare other people. If it's done on Halloween, it's not so weird. ;-)

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    1. People don't really change. People have always liked to have fun and play tricks on each other. And we all love a party! Including outdoor parties - if there's food, it's even better!

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    2. I thoroughly enjoyed the post. As we have no Halloween here I found it informative and interesting.
      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment!

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  7. Lovely blog, Carmen. Intriguing post, E. Ayers. Your book has tempted me. Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you, Caroline!
      You may find several posts about paranormal places on Romania - Mysterious Romania.
      Yes, the post was great and I'm sure the book is, too!

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    2. Hi, Caroline! Thanks so much for stopping by. Carmen does have a lovely blog and she's been a wonderful hostess.

      We'll have to join forces and come back here with our westerns. There are knights in shining armor and then there are our American cowboys. ;-)

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