HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN (B)
Allhallow Hollow Hallow Holy Hall Hell Bonfire Bonefire
Samain Samhein Day of all Souls' or Saints
Pomona Lemur Lemuria Lares Larva Helg Helga
Related Topics
(Also note version A)
 
Halloween and Pomona are recent rubrics for traditions rooted in prehistoric times. Halloween, as a blend of Celtic, Roman and Christian traditions, has acquired strong roots in the United States of North America, where the pumpkin has became a strong emblem, pointing to the approaching harvest feast of Thanksgiving. The scope of ideas inherent in Halloween are exposed by those inherent in hole, house, hall, hollow and husband.
Pomona, goddess of fruits and orchards.
(Photo credit: B. McManus, 1999 in VROMA website)
In Rome, on the last day of October, tributes were made to Pomona, the goddess of fruits and orchards. Others add that perhaps Halloween may be linked with "Lemuria", festivities that started May 9th and lasted several days. Lemures or spirits (specters of dead soles), were believed by the Romans to return to the upper world and to be capable of injuring the living. Often Lemurs are subdivided into Lares and Larvae, the first being good and the second being malicious souls. Lares belonged among the Penates or household gods of private family dwellings. It is true that Lares and Penates often are given as nearly synonymous. But "lar" and "pena" evolved into distinct meanings as illustrated in Spanish: "lar" is lair,"domus" is domicile and "pena" points towar a "penetrating" "penalty" or pain. Regarding Larvae, medical parlance stresses their habitat or domicile in rotting flesh  rather than the broader meaning of a moving, growing, and mutating organism undergoing a metamorphosis as caterpillars do.
Pomona and Vertumnus
In Roman Britain , the Celtic New Year or Samhain was celebrated on the same day as Roman Pomona, but in 61 AD  authorities banished Samein apparently to prevent human immolations. Later, the Roman Church renamed the festivity as "All Souls or Saints Day" without entirely obliterating the penchant for destruction as evident from reports from many countries where black cats remain at peril of destruction by those who believe they are witches incarnate.
Pomona listening to Vertumnus metamorphosed into an elderly woman
Samhain, from the Sanskrit "sama" points to summer and season, one of several signs linking Samhain with harvests and remembrance of departed ancestral spirits. The human animal feels the need to "save" the "remains" of relatives, probably the main reason why Halloween elements are found in so many civilizations. In Ukrainian,  words like "khoronyty", or "khovaty", reflect the human penchant to "save, cherish and bury" the remains and memories of the departed. Incineration and interment are the most popular form of "burial" but burning remains or bones as per bonefire (bonfire) is perhaps the most ancient . In Ukrainian "bone" is kost and "kostior" implies "bone fire" as does bonfire. Also, "kostel" may refer to "church", where repositories of human bones are common. Bonfire nights in Ireland coincide with Shamhain festivities, but bonfires also take place in other seasons. In southern Louisiana (Cajun country), on Christmas or Papa Noel or Santa Clausa Eve, a "Cajun canoe" is "pulled by eight alligators" along the Mississippi River levees as wood pyres are ceremonious lit. In Europe, the summer soltstice is also an occasion for bonefires. In Japan, the Buddhist holiday Bon, O-Bon or Obon is a feast to honor ancestral deceased spirits. It is also called the "Feast of the Lanterns" and the tradition is traced to Bon Odori, a disciple of Buddha. The name Bon evokes bonfires and candles lit during Halloween.

One of the newest symbols of Halloween is the pumpkin, a word of complex implications and derivation. It is worth noting that pumpkin, corn, potatoes, beans, are indigenous plants of the New World. In South America, these plants provide the main ingredients of Locro, a delicious popular vegetable stew cooked within a hollowed pumpkin gourd.
Autumn, a season to enjoy pumpkins and other gourds
Bon and Halloween festivities are also strongly similar to the "Dia de los Muertos" holiday in Mexico. Dating  thousands of years, and with roots in the Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuartl or "Lady of the Dead", to impact of this festival on the popular imagination is evident to this day. As in Mexico, Japan, Ukraine and many other countries, families gather at their ancestors grave sites to bring flowers, share "offrendas" (sacred offers or sacrifices) and to light candles at times of the year when traditions hold that it is easiest for the departed to speak with the living.


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