Incredible Iceland







Incredible Iceland

As soon as you set foot in this country you are stepping on part of the planet’s most fragile crust – Iceland is after all the worlds newest country.
With its strange otherworld landscape of jagged black lava outcrops – available with or without the famous moss – you get a visceral sense that the land is literally alive; and in a sense that’s true as Iceland has 130 volcanoes plus the usual suspects; earthquakes and hot spring activity.

And whilst this country may harbour the volcanic catalyst that could speed the demise of our world as we know it, paradoxically one can imagine that the Icelandic landscape might be how the earth looked “in the beginning”.

With its cinematographic wide screen skies, lunar landscape and an enigmatic diffuse light that infuses that landscape with powerful colour and texture no matter what the weather.
The effect is mesmerizing and dramatic; the hues almost like a digitalized re-coloured black and white image. In short the scenery is a contradictory simultaneous mix of sharp and blunted, vivid and muted.

I saw Iceland post snow melt, when the Camouflage greens and russets of the mosses – the first to colonize the lava fields after an eruption – were punctuated with tiny rose and violet saxifrage set off to perfection by rain sodden sun pierced skies. I can only imagine how beautiful the country is in the summer time.

With no particular iconic sight to visit, the whole of the Country is yours for the taking.
Choose from volcanoes and black beaches; hot springs, spectacular waterfalls glaciers, ice caps and ice berg lakes; Northern light spotting; rainbow panoramas, puffins, Viking heritage museums, story telling sessions involving trolls and other Icelandic folklore – the list is endless. If you like horses you will love the pure bred un adulterated breed of Icelandic pony – sweet natured, plucky and sporting almost as varied a colour palette as the landscape they graze on.

Take an organized tour ( Iceland Air do some great value all inclusives) or drive yourself during the spring/summer seasons.
Kick back and spend a few days in Rekjavik, large enough to be smart and cosmopolitan but small enough to be intimate and accessible.
Get inspired by watching the latest Walter Mitty movie directed by and starring Ben Stiller 1/4 of the action is shot on location in Iceland.

And whilst the camera really loves Iceland, in this instance seeing really is believing.
Give your retinas a treat

Over and out


Best Local Theatre Experiences to enjoy in Toronto

Forget the big-ticket Broadway shows that hit our fair city every season. Forget the wonderful Stratford and Shaw Festivals that require a trip out-of-town. Get down to grass-roots level by supporting Toronto’s vibrant local theatre, the bread and butter theatre scene underpinning the big stuff. With an ever-changing menu of plays, and venues; with various theatre companies taking their productions on the road and staging their plays outside in parks or in heritage properties, the possibilities for enjoying highly professional and unique theatre are endless.
This is Theatre which reaches out to embrace you; visceral experiences that you are so close to you could almost be a part of them.

This is Theatre that will give you the rewarding jaw dropping experiences, the unexpected moments, the exceeded expectations. The theatre that runs on very few cast, literally no props and limited funding.
About the List: The list is split between “Roving Theatre companies who do these “Roadshow”performances around the city and Local theatre venues some of whom have their own in-house Production companies.

Art of Time Ensemble
The creation of musician Andrew Burashko, this company makes it onto this list because although primarily music focussed, the company always pushes the boundaries with daring and new multi-media collaborations between film, theatre, dance, poetry and even painting. To watch an “Art of Time Ensemble” performance is to experience something truly unique and exciting. Best seen so far was their interpretation of HG Welles “War of The Worlds’ as an on-stage “Radio Show”

Brant Theatre Workshops
These operate all around the GTA and seem to focus on performing in historic venues inside and outside the city i.e. Bell Homestead. Biggest claim to fame; their stunning interpretations of “Dracula – A Love Story” traditionally multi-staged throughout the halls, balconies and rooms of Toronto’s Casa Loma” – often with an organist thrown in to “toe” the many footpedals of the Casa Loma pipe organ for extra atmosphere.

Buddies in Bad Times – dedicated to the promotion of Queer Canadian Culture
Self described as “Canada’s Home to Queer Culture”, Buddies was formed in 1979 and, like most fledgling theatre companies, moved from venue to venue until finally settling down at its present location on Alexander St. in 1994.

Classical Theatre Projectw
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen this groups wickedly inventive and hilarious pared down versions of Shakespeare – abridged! All 37 plays in 75 minutes – with craft ale thrown into the ticket price .
Check out “Shakesbeer” at Wychwood Barns

Clay & Paper Theatre
Moniker ; Clay & Paper Theatre is not funny and never serious”
A mask/large-scale puppetry company that creates community driven, multi-disciplinary works mostly performed in public spaces and incorporating pageantry and narrative storytelling.
Claim to fame – they rehearse in full public view making their art accessible to all.
Don’t miss their “Night of Dread” held annually every October.

Fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre Company
Fu-GEN’s founding members started out in 2002 with the mandate of filling the Asian void they saw in the Canadian cultural landscape.

Humber River Shakespeare Company
Like Brant Theatre Workshops this tiny theatre company perform all over Toronto and the GTA again mainly in historic settings and open air spaces – they do a terrific version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” each Christmas, also look out for the annual Shakespeare tour, performances of which fan out all over the GTA each summer They also do some innovative one-off productions on the side such as “The Sonnet Show” – whereby five Canadian playwrights create exclusive new works using a 14-line Shakespeare sonnet as inspiration, and with only 14 days to complete a 14-minute play!

Nightwood Theatrewww.nightwoodtheatre
Founded in 1979, Nightwood Theatre is the oldest professional women’s theatre company in Canada. It produces develops and tours landmark, award-winning plays by and about Canadian women.

Shakespeare in the Ruff
With minimal props and maximum imagination Shakespeare in the Ruff only performs in the summer season at Withrow Park. Catching a performance by this company is fast becoming a Toronto tradition.
Blanket picnics a must!

Soulpepper is a rep company founded by actors for actors, they continue to revisit and reinvent the classics, both well-known and obscure, while mentoring and providing much-needed space and production opportunities to new artists. Operate out of The Young Centre for the Performing Arts

The Guild Theatre Festival Company http://www.guildfestivaltheatre.caSeeing The Guild Theatre Festival company “do their stuff” at the quirky Guild Inn gardens high atop Scarborough bluffs is a real treat. Anybody familiar with the cult 1970’s British series “the Prisoner” will be able to relate to the “other world” alternate reality that the Guild Inn Gardens possesses thanks to the presence of an eclectic architectural collection that dominates the landscape. Bits of Toronto’s grandest late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century buildings are scattered amongst the trees and manicured flowerbeds of the Park which is overlooked by the sad and now dilapidated Guildwood Inn an erstwhile arts and crafts colony from the 1920’s. The troupe perform their classics on the open-air Greek stage and despite simple but adequate stage settings (who needs more on a Greek stage) maximizes the use of lighting and gorgeous costumes to heighten the experience. Last Years “Misanthrope by Molière was so glorious that even the privilege of being in the audience for two visits weren’t enough! Wonderful casual folding chair/al fresco picnic atmosphere with soft drinks and snacks on sale and with the Producer/Director and Founder showing you to your seat and making introductions etc.

Video Cabaret
Utilizing one of the Theatres at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery – see below – Video Cabaret is one of the most unique performance offerings on stage. Performing plays based on Canadian historical events under the umbrella series “The History of the Village of the Small Huts”, the style is a satirical “Spitting Images” (UK television satire) and Restoration theatre. The audience watches the show in a “black box” environment whereby the heavily made-up performers are “lit” and positioned within a curtained stage setting with the entire Theatre in total darkness. Their next production “Trudeau and the FLQ from the series “The History of the Village of the Small Huts – 1963 -1970

Keep a look out for or subscribe to the following entities:

Small 2 tiered theatre housing between 350-400 seats, each with a great view of the stage. great sound; ice cream available, accessible by streetcar. Often host Art of Time Ensemble – see above. Cool “aside” about the “EnWave” air conditioning system. It is cooled through a system of pipes that sit under Lake Ontario which draw cold water into a pumping station downtown which then uses a heat exchange system to cool air that is then circulated through the subscriber buildings – uses 75% less electricity than traditional air conditioning. Neat eh?

Passé Muraillehttp://www.passemuraille.on.caAnother example of “Theatre” utilizing heritage buildings. Theatre Passe Muraille is housed in a converted bakery, in fact it has retained some of the original features namely the original loading doors at the front, and the horse stable windows at the back Again an alternate theatre company focussing on Canadian works. Passe Muraille also lends itself out to the comedy improv group “National Theatre of the World” when they need a full 2-tier theatre setting

Red Sandcastle Theatre                                        Strolling along Queen Street east (north side) near Broadview you will pass a tiny unremarkable storefront with windows plastered with bill posters for past and current performances and events. Look up and you’ll see that you are in front of the Red Sandcastle Theatre. Open the door to a long thin living room sized space flanked on the left by a battalion of around 50 folding chairs in row formation opposite, no,  actually abutting onto a crudely curtained off performance floor. Do not judge the theatre by its “costume”, Red Sandcastle theatre, the brainchild of Artistic Director and founder Rosemary Doyle is the humble home to some of Toronto’s best talent. Look closely at the cast of any play you see here and you will spot the seasoned talent of Toronto shaking it up in back to back plays and DORA nominated performances.

Red One Theatre
Co op based theatre that utilizes neglected and unconventional spaces in which to perform productions that aim to blow the myth of what theatre is or should be. Catching a production here can be tricky as the runs are sometimes as short as a single performance and rarely last longer than a couple weeks.

The Lower Ossington Theatre                “LOT” a tiny space on Ossington does a great job of promoting itself and the many and varied small-scale productions through Groupon and Buytopia. Famously hosts the irreverent “Avenue Q” a “blue” full-size “Muppet” puppet meets “Sesame Street” production that seems to revisit about 3 times a year.
A is for Absolutely don’t take your kids
B is for Bert and Ernie loosely represented by erstwhile gay room mates Rod and Nicky
C is for Cookie Monster aka Trekkie Bear who er – do not share the same values AT ALL.
D is for DO Like it on their Facebook Page
Terrific irreverent unexpected bum clenching fun…

Canadian Stage company
Base themselves out of three Toronto theatres: The St Lawrence theatre formerly the Bluma Appel Theatre, Berkeley Street and during the summer season at High Park Amphitheatre where they produce not one but two alternating Shakespeare plays on summer evenings between July and September
If you are neither a big theatre goer or lover of Shakespeare, do yourself a favour this summer and be part of the summer magic that is Shakespeare in the Park. Get there early or reserve a cushion online.

The Tarragon Theatre
Well known for its development, creation and encouragement of new works the Tarragon is one of the main centres for contemporary playwriting in Canada. Over 170 works have premiered here since 1970 which is when the founders Bill and Jane Glassco, converted a pre-war industrial building – once a cribbage board factory into a two stage theatre seating around 230.

Young Centre for the Performing Arts – Distillery –
A modern four theatre venue set in the century old “Gooderham and Worts” Distillery District. The Young Centre for the Performing Arts was envisioned by George Brown College and Soulpepper Theatre Company to be a home to the entire Toronto arts community. Anchored by the presence of Soulpepper’s year-round classical repertory and George Brown College’s Theatre School, the Young Centre provides a home for the leading artists and arts organizations. Offers a small cafe service. Excellent for a spot of theatre as easily accessible by streetcar with on-site parking available.
Still running till 8 March 2014 and highly recommended the three part Alan Ayckbourn trilogy “The Norman Conquests”.

Break A Leg.




The McMichael Canadian Art Collection Kleinburg


The marvellous McMichael Collection of Canadian Art located in the picture -perfect village of Kleinburg is (relatively speaking) just a short hop north of Toronto.

Located cheek by jowl to the Kortwright Centre – a delicious wilderness of maple trees and trails, capped by an excellent Visitor Centre (with Maple Syrup tapping in the Winter) – a trip to Kleinburg makes for a wonderful day trip.

That said there is enough to do at the Gallery itself to warrant a full day. A gorgeous building designed to blend harmoniously into the surrounding 100 acres of conservation land. With thirteen galleries housing a stunning collection of works by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, there is a special focus on the works of Tom Thompson, alongside works by First Nations and Inuit. And should your taste be a little more eclectic then the McMichael regularly injects new life into their Gallery spaces by hosting major exhibitions of the works of other artists who have made a contribution to the development of Canadian art.

Currently the Museum is hosting two “guest” exhibitions: a “Mary Pratt” retrospective and “Changing Tides: Contemporary Art of Newfoundland and Labrador”

The Gallery – styled like a huge log cabin perched high up on the valley escarpment is a nook and cranny delight for slumping into a “Stickley” armchair to contemplate the art or to gaze out onto the stunning scenery – on a good day, and from the right window it is even possible to see the CN Tower way out in the distance. A stark reminder in this peaceful serene space of the proximity of our sprawling metropolis.

When Robert and Signe McMichael discovered Kleinburg, they felt that the area evoked the images of the Canadian wilderness they so loved. They consequently purchased ten acres of land in the village and in 1954 – with the help of architect Leo Venchiarutti – built a pioneer-style home (complete with barnboard walls and fieldstone fireplaces) and named it Tapawingo (believed to mean “place of joy”), the forerunner of today’s Gallery space.

Initially the McMichaels started their “Group of Seven” collection with a painting by Lawren Harris called “the Montreal River”. This was followed by a purchase of Tom Thomson’s “Pine Island” and by 1965, their private collection numbered 194 paintings and had been visited by hundreds of people who flocked to the McMichael’s frequent open houses. Realizing they were the custodians of a national treasure, the McMichael’s donated their collection, home and land to the Province of Ontario in return for an assurance that the buildings be maintanied and the art retained and conserved in the spirit of the original intent. Eight months later in July 1966 the “McMichael Conservation Collection of Art” officially opened.

Today the collection has expanded – through purchases and donations (from private individuals and artists) to about 5500 works of art. Despite extensive additions the Gallery retains many of its original rustic features; classically smart it radiates the warmth and charm one imagines the original home to have held almost as if the current custodians had had a hotline to Robert and Signe during all the remodellings.

And when you are done with the art, the restaurant – located in the split level basement – has a beautiful outdoor patio area open during the summer with drop-away views of the forested Humber River valley.

The hiking trails are open year round but occasionally one or two are closed during winter because ice and steep slopes are a treacherous combination.

Before you head out take a moment to admire the totem pole in the Grand Hall, entitled “Where Cultures Meet”, which was carved specifically for the Gallery by artist Don Yeomans.

Beforep embarking upon a trail have a stroll around the new Sculpture Garden and peer through the windows of Tom Thomson`s original log cabin.


Telephone 905 893 1121 or 1888 213 1121



A Toronto Christmas

And so the seasonal madness begins….

If you’re gonna get “stuck” anywhere over Christmas.
If you can’t be with your family somewhere far away, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the season to the full with a host of fabulous festive events held across the GTA.
Here are a selection of festive sound bite

Santa Clause parade
Sunday 17 November and featuring Mayor Rob Ford in all his fallen glory. Begins at St. Lawrence market, wends it’s way along Bloor street west to finish at Christie Pitts.

Cavalcade of Lights – A Holiday Tradition
Paste link below into your browser to watch 2012 Fireworks

Saturday, November 30, 2013 will mark the official start to the holiday season in Toronto with the celebration of the 47th annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Great Gulf. Featuring the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, music from soul singer Divine Brown plus others, a fireworks show and a skating party

Twelve Trees at the Gardiner Museum – from 23 November to 15 December
Always a huge treat to see Designer dressed trees scattered and reflected off the glass cases housing the ceramic displays. This year’s theme “Celebrating All Things G”
Friday November 29, 2013, 6 – 9:30 pm
“featuring a spectacular Downton Abbey-inspired dinner by Chef Jamie Kennedy, this year’s edition will also have costumed hosts from Toronto’s Spadina Museum sharing insights into the Downton era, a sneak preview of Season Four from Vision TV”

Russ Petty’s traditional Xmas
Family show
(we call it a Pantomime) – The Little Mermaid
Nov 22 – Jan 4

The Distillery Xmas Market
Nov 29 – Dec 15, 2013.
The Distillery does ” Dickens” so very atmospherically thanks to its setting amidst Victorian industrial buildings (original home of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery) and cobbled lane ways. Gorgeous restaurants and artsy boutiques alongside the German style chalets of the Christmas vendors. Huddle round the wood burning outdoor braziers nursing a cup of Christmassy mulled wine.

One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale
Thursday, November 28 to December 8, 2013
Weave in and out of aisle upon aisle of sumptuously decorated craft and food boutiques booths. Taste amazing Christmas fayre and leave at least half a day for hunting down those special one off presents.

Carol Singing at Montgomery’s Inn
Friday, December 6, 7:30pm
Saturday, December 7, 7:30pm
Step back in time and sing nineteenth century carols in a nineteenth century heritage Rooming Inn. $20 plus tax, savoury treats, mulled cider, cash bar for historic drinks. Pre-registration only.

Also at Montgomery’s Inn and other heritage properties in and around the GTA The Humber River Shakespeare company present Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
Usually yummy homemade biscuits available at the Montgomery’s Inn location>.

Christmas Afternoons at Colborne House
Nov 23, to Jan 5,
12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
All decked out for a Victorian Christmas discover the magic of Christmas in the winter wonderland surroundings of High Park and enjoy a tour of Colborne Lodge, the picturesque home of the founders of High Park. learn about festive traditions, decorations and the foods enjoyed during the 19th-century in Toronto. Toast the season with a glass of hot mulled cider by the wood stove and nibble on special holiday treats.

Sing Along Messiah at Massey Hall
– December 22 @ 2pm – word to the wise, bring your own sheet music if you want to join in singing as they always run out of the scores. The Tafelmusik conductor dressed as Mozart very audibly directs both the orchestra and the audience. Quite the experience!

The non singalong version of Handel’s Messiah – again by Tafelmusik at the acoustically and architecturally fabulous Koerner Hall
Wed Dec 18, Thurs Dec 19, Fri Dec 20 and Sat Dec 21 at 7:30pm

The Nutcracker Ballet at The Four Seasons
December 14- January 4.
Two treats in one evening – the National Ballet’s sumptuous and magical annual performance of ETF Hoffman’s Christmas Tale and a chance to experience it in the Four Seasons Centre – a state of the art glass and blonde wood confection in the heart of Toronto’s west end. Go early for the pre-show performances and a chance to get the autographs of the prima donnas.

Kitchener Christkindle
5-8 December
Kitchener Christkindl reflects the enormous German population of this area and is Christmassy in a way that only a German Christmas Market can be! Look out for Gluhwein, the corresponding mugs; traditional wooden decorations including revolving candle holders and table decor; Bavarian imports, oktoberfest sausage and oompah bands.

Also check out Christmas events at Casa Loma – www.
and heritage houses in Hamilton area
Dundurn Castle
Bovaird House
Whitehern House and Garden

A Merry Toronto Christmas
Over and Out


Ripleys “You’d better Believe It” Aquarium

You’d better Believe It
Best Aquarium I have ever visited and I am an Aquarium “freak”
Costly at $39 for the entrance fee but worth every penny
Don’t miss the baby shark eggs hatching, the seahorses, the Travelator that wends its way under the enormous glass fish tank, and oh everything else.

Surreal Disney meets spa music playing on a loop enhances the feeling of being in an alternate reality!













“Bowie Is”

Hot on the heels of a”Residency”
at London’s “Victoria and Albert” Museum and starring in an all-encompassing multi-media Exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario


Bowie Is:

The most mind blowing exquisitely layered multi-media exhibition I’ve seen to date. Both a sonic and visual spectacle that immerses the “viewer” in surround-sound.

A sublime curation of a diverse body of work from probably one of the most underrated “Pop” icons of our time

An exhilarating reminder of how it’s possible to reinvent yourself over and over whilst constantly exploring all your aspects of creativity as a piece of a larger artistic picture.

A re-definition of “Art “in its broadest sense (and therefore a brave and forward thinking stance from the AGO)

A showcase for all the “behind-the-scenes” notes/drawings/doodles/sketches and designs that hallmarked his involvement with every part of the creative process whether it be on stage, in a video, or as a recording.

A celebration of the life and prolific output of a true trendsetter.”A glamorous pioneer of invented identities”

A comprehensive chronologically presented archive of the life of a man who is unafraid to express himself at every artistic level and to challenge the social boundaries of the various “ages” through which he has trail-blazed.a questioner of social norms and gender

Absolutely nothing to do with tabloid rubbish or his private persona

Exhibit Notes:
Get ready to experience the amazing directional viewing/listening concept delivered through your complimentary headset. The soundtrack and narration merge and fade in and out as you move from exhibit to exhibit.
First gallery:
Here we find the contextual pieces and the influences that framed his early life. Bowies own voice and memories accompany you through this gallery.
Born David Jones in Brixton UK in 1947
Began singing in various bands from the age of 16 – pootled around with acting roles and trained as a professional mime artist but until 1969 failed to make a significant commercial breakthrough.
Then came “Space Oddity” – which gets its own exhibit here. This incorporates memorabilia, notes, the video etc of the 1969 career-changing release of this iconic record just prior to the Apollo 12 moon landing.
A “Star Man” booth features costumes and a cosmic split screen kaleidoscope style video of a 1972 “Top of the Pops” appearance with the “too gorgeous” Mick Ronson. Amusing quote with the video, stating that Bowie “outraged and enthralled” viewers of the prime time music show with his alien appearance on colour television (remembering that colour tv was a new concept) and his homoerotic stage-play with Mick Ronson”!

One whole gallery is devoted to Bowie’s Andy Warhol influence/connection.

Up the spiral Gehry staircase to the second floor of the exhibition

Multi media on speed in here.
Where to look?
How to move around it?

Video cubes hang from the ceiling
Acrylic Display cases house masks, clothing and footwear and draft music/show design concepts.
Small TVs screen recordings and documentary pieces – notably some 1973 “Nationwide” archival footage capturing the public reaction to “Ziggyman”, with the very straight, very BBC Bernard Falk describing Bowie as follows:
“A bizarre self-constructed freak with a painted face and carefully adjusted lipstick. This 26 year old man earns about half million pounds a year and can afford to have a personal makeup artist to coat his nails in silver – features confused Newcastle pensioners who have been caught up in the crowds of screaming girls outside

On the walls, paper records, photos and artwork by the man himself

Turn one way and you hear “Gene Genie “
Turn another and “Star Man” blasts into your headset.
My favourite exhibit – a TV screen “looping” the amazing NBC Saturday night live video (1979) where he is carried on stage (because of the restrictive nature of his self-designed costume) backed by The cult German performer Klaus Nomi – who subsequently adopted this style and made it his own – singing “The Man who sold the World” Flanked by story boards detailing the avant garde cabaret influence of 1920’s Europe on his video, and the fact that Bowie’s costume designs and robotic movements were inspired by two specific pieces of Dadaist theatre – performance of Tristian Tzara’s “The Gas Heart with costume by Sonia Delaney and a 1916 recitation by Hugo Bell (he wore a similarly restrictive costume)

Also a small Booth with background info on his latest release “The Next Day”

Excellent “Boys keep swinging” exhibit – with all the costumes – plus his gender bending appearance as the three accompanying backing singers. At the end of the video two of these “characters” pose at the entrance of the catwalk, pause to camera, pull off the wig with attitude and dramatically wipe/smear off the lipstick revealing the gorgeous Bowie glowering onto the lens. Pretty intense confusing messaging for a 1970’s audience.

A separate screening area shows a montage of every film appearance including “The Prestige”, “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, “The man who fell to earth” etc

Move to a room with chequerboard tv monitors and chequerboard tiled floor. Stand on the tile that corresponds to the screen you are watching and hey presto – the soundtrack – stellar!

Look out for his art/cartoons and mime pieces here too.

The masterpiece for me however is the last gallery with its massive floor to ceiling screens playing a vast selection of Bowie’s music videos and stills
Leave at least 20 minutes for this gallery


Trick or Treat





There is nothing quite like experiencing Halloween in North America – they do it bigger and better….
Yet the Halloween tradition emanates from the UK and Celtic France; it developed over 2,000 years ago from an ancient pagan festival celebrated by the Celts The original festival was called Samhain (pronounced SOW ehn), which means “summer’s end.” It marked the onset of the dark winter season and was celebrated around November 1. In the 800′s, November 1 became known as “All Hallows/All Saints Day” and this became a new Christian holiday. AND the evening before All Hallows’ was known as All Hallows’ Eve, or – and you know where this is going right? – All Hallow e’en. shortened eventually to Halloween.

Halloween’s association with the occult is longstanding In the 1500′s and 1600′s, in Europe, superstition had it that the devil made witches do evil deeds and that on Halloween witches and their black cats flew around night sky on broomsticks. It was also believed that on Halloween fairies and ghosts could be asked for help casting spells or seeing into the future. To ward off any unfriendly supernatural creatures, turnip lanterns carved with grotesque faces could be carried. In Scotland bonfires were lit on hillsides to drive away evil spirits and for centuries in Europe, people remembered the dead at All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2) with bonfires. People used to leave food out on a table as a treat for spirits believed to be about on Halloween.
In England, people went house-to-house “souling” i.e. asking for small breads called soul cakes in exchange for prayers; sometimes they wore costumes when they begged house-to-house for a Halloween feast. In Wales, boys dressed as girls and girls dressed as boys to go house-to-house singing Halloween rhymes.
Jack-o-lanterns – according to an Irish legend – were named after a character named Jack, who could not enter heaven because he was a miserly, bad-tempered man. Neither could he enter Hell, because he had tricked the devil several times. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth forever with only a coal from hell to light his lantern. Originally large beets or turnips were used as jack – o – lanterns. It wasn’t until the tradition ported over to the US that pumpkins began to be used.


Over and Out