Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Halloween is also known as All Hallow's Eve and is observed on October 31 in a number of countries. October 31 is the eve of the Western Christian feast of all Hallows Day.  It starts the triduum of Hallowmas, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead; which include saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed believers.  According to scholars, All Hallow's Eve is a Christianized feast that was influenced by Celtic harvest festivals with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain.  There are others who believe otherwise.

The word Halloween dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin.  Halloween means hallowed evening or holy evening.  It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows Eve.

Today's Halloween custom are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from Celtic speaking countries.  Halloween is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for summers end.  Samhain was the and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.  It was held on or about October 31-November 1 and similar festivals were held at the same time of year by the Brittonic Celts.  Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.  At Samhain, it was believed that Aos Si needs to be made well to ensure that the people and their livestock made it through the winter  Offerings of food and drink or portions of the crops were left for the Aos Si.  The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes.  Places were set at the dinner table or by the fire to welcome them.  The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night or day of the year seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world.

In modern Ireland, Scotland, Mann and Wales, the festival includes  mumming and guising, the latter of which goes back at least as far as the 16th century.  This involved people going house to house in costume, reciting verses or song in exchange for food.  Wearing costumes at Halloween spread to England in the 20th century as did the custom of playing pranks.

North American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th century do not indicate that Halloween was celebrated here.  The Puritans had strong opposition to Halloween.  It was not until the Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that it was brought to North America.  At that point it was confined to the immigrant communities and by the first decade of the 20th century it was being celebrated by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.

Symbols of Halloween:

Jack-O-lanterns were traditionally carried by people dressed up on Halloween to frighten the evil spirits.  There is a popular Irish Christian folktale associated with the jack-o-lantern, which in lore is said to represent a soul who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.

In Ireland and Scotland, the turnip was carved for Halloween.  The pumpkin is native to us and is easier to carve.  The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general.

Trick or treat?

Trick refers to "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners on their property if no treat is given.

Something relative recent is Trunk or Treating is when children are offered treats from the trunks of cars parked in a church parking lot or a school parking lot.  This is relatively more safe than going door to door.

The information in this post was taken from Wikpedia and the pictures I took last year in Costa Mesa and Balboa Island.

More pictures of how people celebrate Halloween.  These pictures were taken in Huntington Beach on a Worldwide Photo Walk.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Route 66 in Rialto and Rancho Cucamonga

There is a book called EZ 66 Route 66 Guide for Travelers and I am in a Meet Up group for Route 66.

Located just east of the Rialto City limits are the concrete Tee Pees of the classic Wig Wam Motel.  This icon has come under the care of a couple who are dedicated to preservation.   The couple has renovated the Wigwams and there are two motels on Route 66, similar to this one and the motel is the last of the chain built and are a testament to the re-emergence of Route 66.

After you leave the Wig Wam Motel and head west, there is a mixture of shopping centers and older buildings that once were garages, gas stations.  There are still old motels with quaint names and examples of bungalow courts.  Along Foothill Blvd., there are many instances of the Route 66 sign and also wall art of past days.

The Sycamore Inn dates back to 1848 and was originally a stagecoach stop.

Other pictures:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. In 1769, Father Serra established the first mission.  The mission and Presidio were built on a hillside. At the base of the hillside in the 1820's , a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego.

In 1968, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation established Old Town State Historic Park to preserve the rich heritage that characterized San Diego during the period from 1821-1872.

The San Diego Presidio was the first European settlement on the West coast. It was a military outpost of Spanish California (Alta California) founded by Gaspar de Portola in 1769. The Presidio and Mission were originally built on a bluff known as Presidio Hill, which is adjacent to Old Town State Park. After 5 years the Mission moved to a different location.  Presidio Hill remained the primary settlement for several decades, because it was defensible against attack by European enemies or hotile Indians.  In the 1820's, the town of San Diego grew up at the base of the bluff, at the site that is currently Old Town. The Presidio was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

During the pueblo period, the Old Town area was the commercial and governmental hub of the region, even though its population was not very large.  In 1834, the Mexican government granted San Diego the status of a pueblo or chartered town, but the pueblo status was revoked in 1838 due to its declining population.  The town's growth was limited due to its location being far from navigable water.

When California was admitted to the United States in 1850, San Diego; which consisted of mainly Old Town was made the county seat of San Diego County.

Old Town remained the heart of San Diego until Alonzo Horton began to promote development in what is now Downtown San Diego.  Residents and businesses abandoned Old Town for Horton's New Town because of its proximity to shipping.  In 1871, government records were moved to a new county courthouse in New Town.

The pictures for this post, I took in Old Town San Diego and the information I took from Wikipedia and the web site for Old Town.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A trip to the San Diego Zoo and other places

A walk I took in Newport Beach

Clouds at Sunrise!

Photowalk in Coronado, CA

More of the San Diego Zoo