Dark nights and story telling season is here

Ingrid Barton will be telling tales of Halloween on October 31 at Art and Rose Gallery.
Ingrid Barton will be telling tales of Halloween on October 31 at Art and Rose Gallery.

Halloween is not just about pumpkins and silly masks it is a Christianisation of the old Celtic fire festival of Samhain (pronounced Sowin or Savvin) which marked the beginning of winter.

In the other half of the year, on May 1 there is the festival of Beltane, not, as we think, the middle of spring, but the beginning of summer.

These two dates were the hinges of the year when the Other World of ghosts, fairies and demons could enter our world more easily than 
usual.

From Samhain to Beltane it was storytelling season – the time for sitting around the fire, filling up the long dark nights with tales new or familiar.

On Samhain itself, perhaps in honour of the Other World, stories of blood-curdling supernatural events were, just as today, particularly popular.

In those days, of course, people really believed in such things, which must have made going home in the 
dark unusually nerve-wracking.

You can take part in this seasonal scariness at Art and Rose Gallery on October 31 at 7pm when local storyteller Ingrid Barton will attempt to freeze your marrow with Hallowe’en tales.

You can also try a Soul Cake, traditionally begged for by children at All Hallows (Bake-Off take note!).

Tickets, including a drink and Soul Cake are £5 from Art and Rose.