It's Wednesday again, which means another installment of Shakespearean Imagination!
Many of you most likely associate Hallowe’en with scary fun, trick-or-treat candy, carved pumpkins, fancy dress costumes, and, of course, childhood. Some of you may ascribe to religious beliefs which name Hallowe’en as “Devil’s night.” However, Hallowe’en is based on a much older, much more spiritual observance.
Hallowe’en, or rather Samhain, marked the beginning of a new year for the ancient Celts – the end of the harvest and the beginning of a period of dormancy and gestation before the year was reborn anew in the spring. Some traditions celebrate Samhain on October 31st, while others use the full moon nearest November 1st and still others celebrate it on the midpoint between Mabon (the autumnal equinox) and Yule (the winter solstice). People interested in learning more can go here - I’ve unlocked a personal post from last year on the subject.
I would wager that all of you have gotten decked out in fancy dress costumes at least once in your lives; if not for Hallowe’en, then for a masquerade, Carnival, etc. What sort of outfit did you choose? Were you a famous person? A scary monster? A princess? A cartoon character? What was your favourite costume?
Whatever your favourite, part of the fun of fancy dress is that it allows us the illusion that we can:
-(of an insect or amphibian) Undergo metamorphosis
- Change completely in form or nature.
Metamorphosis is defined as:
a: change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means
b: a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances
: a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching
Synonyms transform - transfigure - change - transmute - convert
First seen in Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (written 1594 - 1595). The full text of the play may be found here.