I was in the supermarket this evening and came across the Halloween merchandise, or “tack” might be a better term – plastic skeletons, pumpkins and tacky spooky suits. Halloween is of course a Christian festival…

But the “spook” nonsense is likely a folk memory of heathen times when, around this time of the year, people sat out on a burial mound to commune with their ancestors. In the Old Norse world, what is now called Halloween, was known as the “Álfablót” (sacrifice to the elves). The elves weren’t fairies; they were more likely the souls of the dead, the ancestors… but who remembers this when they celebrate Halloween? Very few, I would contend…

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