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History
(and etymology) of
 

...and the Day of the Dead

They share some of the same origins!

Table of Contents
Click on the Jack, and go.

Click on Jack

Topic

Etymology of the word "Halloween"
History of Halloween

...and the Day of the Dead

Halloween Traditions
Halloween Games
Halloween Movies (for kids)
Halloween Funny Photo
Halloween &  Day of the Dead
   (Contrast/Comparison)
(AKA:  dia de los muertos)

Ghost Stories (true stories)  [Click on the Ghost]

 

 

 

Etymology & Meaning of the word "Halloween"

"Hallow" is short for "hallowed"  and it means holy.

"E'en" is short for "evening".

Hence, "Halloween" means:  "holy evening."

If Halloween is a HOLY evening, why do so many people think that Halloween is the night of the Devil?  I don't know, except maybe because of Hollywood.  In reality, Halloween has nothing to do with the Devil.  The concept of a Devil is a Judaeo-Christian concept.  Halloween actually stems from an Irish Celtic Holy Night called Sam-whain [pronounced:  Sahm-wane].  It means "summer wanes".

[sam = sum(mer), whain = wanes]

 

History of Halloween  (and the Day of the Dead)
(my source:  Encyclopedia Britannica)

Teachers:  Here's a ppt to show your class.  Just click on this link to download.

Would you call these things "evil"?

JangSeung

These are erected in front of entryways to Korean cities, towns, villages, and estates in order to ward off evil spirits.

Bald Lion Guardian

Statues of lions and dragons are placed in front of Buddhist temples to ward off evil spirits (as seen above in the photo, by my son, 2013).

Gargoyles

These adorn cathedrals to ward off evil spirits.

If your answer is, "No," then neither should you call this thing evil...

Because jack-o-lanterns were made and placed in front of people's homes to ward off evil spirits.


Halloween was a holiday (literally a holy day) in Ireland (and anciently other British Isles and perhaps all of Scandinavia) for close to a thousand years before Christianity was introduced by Saint Patrick  430 A.D.   So, it was a part of their culture long before Christianity came to the British Isles; only it wasn't called "Halloween" back then.  It was called "Samwhain" [pronounced:  Sahm-wane].  Samwhain (also spelled Samhaim) literally means "summer wanes."  It was a time of the changing of the seasons.

There was a group of people living on what is now known as Ireland (and the British Isles), called Celts.  The religious leaders of the Celts were called Druids.  On the last day of the Celtic calendar (which is October 31 by the Roman Gregorian calendar), after sundown, it was believed that Hel (who is Loki's daughter and gatekeeper of the Underworld) opened the gates of the Underworld and let all the spirits of the dead roam the land of the living (but only for that one night every year).

 

 

It was believed that MOST of the spirits of the deceased were harmless;  however, some of the spirits of the deceased were considered to be wicked or might have been enemies of the family.  So, in order for the living to protect themselves from the wicked spirits, the Celts made scary lanterns out of a kind of radish called a "turnip," and placed the 'jack-o-lanterns' in front of their houses to scare away all wicked spirits.

Then...

 

There weren't any pumpkins in Ireland back in ancient times.  People turned turnips into miniature
jack-o-lanterns, and hung them around the outside of their dwellings to scare away wicked spirits.

Ancient
Jack-o-lantern
Today


Pumpkin

Today, in America, people use pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns, because they are much bigger and easier to carve.  Pumpkins were introduced by the indigenous peoples of the USA.
Modern
Jack-o-lantern

Source of information:  Encyclopedia Britannica and History Channel

 

When Christianity came to the British Isles in 432 A.D., the Catholics tried to change such pagan practices, and they initiated a three-day holiday called "All_Hallowed_Tide," which consists of three days.  They were:  (1) "All-Saints' Eve (on the night of October 31st); (2) "All Saints' Day," on November 1st ;  and (3) "All Souls' Day" on November 2nd

Later, Mexicans changed "All_Hallowed_Tide" into "Day of the Dead" (Dia de los Muertos), which is celebrated on the same, exact days.

The Mexican version of the European Holidays (All-Hallowed-Tide) is mixed with local traditions that are said to come from ancient Aztec traditions as far back as 3,000 years ago.

 

When the Irish settlers came to the U.S.A., they brought with them their traditions of Samhain and changed the name to "All Hallow's Eve,"  which later was shortened to "Halloween."  And, the American Aborigines introduced pumpkins to the settlers, which became very handy in making jack-o-lanterns.

 

So, what happened to Halloween (or Samhain) in Ireland and the other parts of the British empire???

Well, it kind of became overshadowed by "Guy Fawke's Day," which is celebrated on November 5th.

Halloween is coming back, though, probably due to American and Hollywood's influence.

 

[ Back to top ]

 

 

Other Halloween traditions include:

(1)  Wearing scary masks

The Celts wore scary masks if they had to leave their houses on Halloween, to scare away would-be molesting evil spirits.

(pic from http://www.deathstudios.com)

(2)  Trick-or-Treating

Since no one still believes that evil spirits roam the earth, children dress up in costumes, both cute and scary, and go from door to door soliciting tricks or treats from their neighbors.  The custom of "trick-or-treating" seems to be a fairly modern custom.  It seems to have started in the United States in 1950's.  Apparently, it was started by parents wanting to stop the Halloween pranks.  (Source:  History Channel)

It is very similar to the Christmas tradition of "wassailing," where people get together in a small group and go from house to house singing Christmas carols, and hope to get some treats for their singing.

 


 

Halloween Games

1. Bobbing for Apples

Materials

 

 

 

 
- a big bucket full of water

- as many apples as there are contestants (or more)

- a stop watch

- a score sheet/board

- writing implement
Method Put all the apples in the bucket.  The apple should float.  If it doesn't float, get another apple.  The first contestant must try to grab the apple with his/her teeth and stand up straight with the apple securely lodged in his/her mouth.  The contestant may not use his/her hands.  Someone should use the stop watch to time the contestant.  Then, the next contestant tries.  The contestant with the quickest time wins.  

2.  Pin the Tail on the Donkey
(or Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-lantern)

                                                                    

x For:
pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey
For:
pin-the-nose-on-the-jack-o
Materials - a big paper donkey w/o tail

- a paper donkey tail

- a blind fold

- a writing implement

- a big paper jack-o-lantern w/o nose

- a paper nose

- a blind fold

- a writing implement

Method Make a paper donkey with a separate tail.  Stick the tailless donkey to the wall or board.  Put the blind fold one the first contestant.  Put the donkey tail in his/her hand.  Spin the contestant three times.  Send the contestant in the direction of the tailless donkey.  The contestant must place the donkey tail as close to it's original position as possible.  Mark the chosen spot with a pen or other writing implement.  Then contestant number two tries.  The closest contestant wins. Make a paper jack-o-lantern with a separate nose.  Stick the nose-less jack-o-lantern to the wall or board.  Put the blind fold one the first contestant.  Put the nose in his/her hand.  Spin the contestant three times.  Send the contestant in the direction of the nose-less jack-o-lantern.  The contestant must place the nose as close to it's original position as possible.  Mark the chosen spot with a pen or other writing implement.  Then contestant number two tries.  Repeat as many times as there are contestants.  The closest contestant wins.

3.  Scariest Mask Contest

Materials

 

 

 

- lots of paper

- lots of coloring implements

- tape

- scissors

Method Have all contestants draw and color the scariest mask they can imagine.  Then have them cut the eyes out.  Then have them tape the mask to their faces.  When everyone is finished.  Have the contestants vote for the scariest mask.  The winner gets the most votes, of course.

4.  Pumpkin Carving Contest

Materials

 

 

 

- one pumpkin for each team or contestant

- one knife for each team of contestant

- lots of old newspapers

- two big pots

Method Each contestant or team gets one pumpkin, and one knife.  Each team must spread out newspapers under their work area.  Then, they must cut open the top of the pumpkin and take out all the seeds and put the seeds in one of the pots.  Then they must try to carve out the scariest face they can imagine in the side of the pumpkin.  The chucks of pumpkin must be put into the other pot.  Then the contestants vote for the scariest jack-o-lantern.  The seed can be cleaned, roasted and eaten.  The pumpkin chunks can be used to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin porridge.

 


Halloween Movies
(for kids)

Hocus Pocus
Adams Family
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Nightmare Before Christmas

 


 

Halloween Funny Photo

(Photographer: Unknown)

If you took this photo, please contact me and let me so I can give you credit for the photo... GREAT PHOTO, by the way!!!!

 


A Comparison between

Halloween  and Day of the Dead

                                                       

Holiday:

Halloween

Day of the Dead

Origins: Samhain
Americans have twisted the original traditions.  It has morphed into what it is today.
Aztecs, Samhain, & Catholic ChurchIt is a mixture of all three.
Date: October 31st

(Especially in the evening).

October 31st evening and...
November 1-2

Some sources say that it actually starts on October 31st at night and ends on November 2nd to coincide with the European Catholic traditions of All-Hallows-Tide which is 3 holidays:
-  Oct 31st - All Saints' Evening
-  November 1st - All Saints' Day
-  November 2nd - All Souls' Day.

Started by: Irish Celts

('Twas morphed by Americans)

Mexicans

(It's a take-off of the Europeans' All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day), which was basically Samhain under a different name (a Catholic name).

Wikipedia's article suggests that there may be some Aztec influence upon the traditions, such as honoring the skulls.

It became a national holiday in the 1960's.

When: around 1000 B.C.; possibly earlier. Aztec influence goes back 3000 years.
Catholic influence goes back to the 1600's.
Became a Mexican national holiday in 1960's.
Purpose: - Celebrate the changing of the seasons.
- Celebrate the harvest.
- Celebrate the arrival of loved-ones from the spirit world.
- Protect against unwanted spirits.
Celebrate / Honor / Recognize the deceased saints / ancestors / love-ones in the spirit world.
Today: The American form of celebrating Halloween is catching on all over the world, but it's really an American Holiday.

There may be different ways of celebrating it in all English-speaking countries.

Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela  (source).

Wikipedia's article explicates that there are celebrations in other parts of the world as well, but only in certain parts of those countries.

 


Leon's Ghost Stories

Ghost in Magna, Utah Ghost in Las Vegas Ghost in Salt Lake City Ghost in Mongolia

 

The Haunted Toilets of Magna, Utah
(a true ghost story by Leon)

       It was 2018, in Utah, U.S.A. I was a 5th-grade teacher at a small charter school in a small town, called Magna, Utah. The word ‘magna’ is Latin for “great”, which is an oxymoron, because the town neither was great nor ever became great. Magna was first settled in 1868 as a mining town (still is a mining town to this day). But, it wasn’t called Magna back then; it was called Pleasant Green. Later, they changed the name to Magna, because it was thought that the town would grow to become a great city. It never did become a great city, though, despite continued mining operations for over 150 years.
Magna, Utah is located a mile south of the Great Salt Lake, just at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains, where the mines are located. Oquirrh is a Ute word which mean tree stump or log, which is funny, because no trees grow on those mountains. Rumor has it that the Mormon pioneers chopped them all down, but I find that very hard to believe. What I find more believable is that the mountains in that area have neither the necessary elevation, nor the necessary precipitation for trees to thrive there.
       Magna is a small town, ridden with low-income families and unfortunately several drug dealers running meth-amphetamine labs out of their homes. Gangs and Cartel live in the area as well. The school where I worked was on the outskirts of the eastern part of town, surrounded by acres of private farms and grazeland. In fact, the owner of the land adjacent to the school had some horses and two lamas in his field.
       Long before the modern-day flush-toilet was invented, even before Magna was a town, the Utes lived and hunted there. And, before the Utes, the Fremont Indians lived and hunted there. As I have come to learn from visiting Fremont Indian State Park, the term “Fremont Indian” is just an umbrella term for all the people that lived in Utah more than 2,000 years ago. Evidence of the Fremont Indians lies in a cave just west of town inside the Oquirrh Mountains, facing the Great Salt Lake. Today, the cave is referred to as Deadman Cave (or Dead Man’s Cave), because allegedly a man committed suicide there in 1913. Archaeologists from the University of Utah have been to the cave twice to do excavations and found bones and artifacts that carbon-date to between 9,500 years ago to 10,000 years ago. Legend has it that the spirit of the man who committed suicide in the cave—a miner—still roams around the town of Magna at night. My student and her mother literally drove their car right though him one night. Scared the ever-living daylights out of them. So, is that really a legend if we have a modern-day witness? You decide. And, he’s not the only apparition in town. The Empress Theater, built in 1916 as a place of entertainment for the miners, now has a burlesque girl ghost, who still puts on shows from time to time. But, haunted toilets??? Really? Yes! Read on, my friend.
       Again, it was 2018, and I used to come into the school on the weekends to do lesson prep, clean up my classroom, decorate my classroom, and get it ready for the upcoming week. I was always the only person there. It was very quiet, except for the weather. One could hear the weather outside, and the building creaking from time to time. To another person, it might seem spooky. Not to me. I quite enjoyed the quiet and the weather, even the creaking. I liked being alone, without any distractions (and I get distracted easily). However, I was soon to realize that I was not alone in that building after all.
       Why wasn’t it spooky to me? Well, because I’m a praying man. I prayed every day. I prayed every day for myself, my family, and my school. To be honest, I had had the sneaky suspicion that my students were being plagued by depressing spirits, which were keeping them from achieving academically. I prayed every day that there would be angels surrounding the entire school grounds, keeping out every wicked spirit, and that our school would be a safe haven.
       Well, one weekend evening, I was working in my classroom with the door open to get fresh air in the classroom. I was the only person in the building, or so I thought, when all of a sudden, the toilet flushed in the restroom down the hall. Now, if I were teaching a classroom full of children, I would not have been able to hear it, but it is amazing how much you can hear, when you are the only person in the building. The outside doors stayed locked at all times, and one could only enter the building by fob or by being buzzed in. All of the teachers had fobs, so naturally I thought that one of the other teachers had come to get some work done as well. I immediately went to the classroom door and yelled out, “Who’s there?” No answer. Then, I went the boys’ room and checked. There was no one in there. Then, I stood outside the girls’ room and said, “Is anybody in there?” No answer. I walked around the whole school. Saw no one. Finally, I checked the parking lot. Mine was the only car in the lot. Okay, at that point I was a little freaked out. But, I dismissed it as a malfunctioning toilet and went back to work.
       Then, it happened again. Only this time it was a toilet at the other end of the hall. I went through the exact same routine in order to confirm that no one else was in the building. At that point, I was thinking that some invisible entity was trying to get my attention. Because during the normal school day, the toilet did not automatically flush randomly. They had sensors and only flushed when a person triggered the sensor. Something was triggering the sensors on the toilets and trying to get my attention. I wasn’t scared, but I was confused. What could the entity be trying to tell me? I think I even said out loud, “What are you trying to tell me?” After several minutes of ruminating on that query, I finally gave up trying to figure it out.
       From then on, every weekend, when I went to work, toilets would randomly flush throughout the building. Now, keep in mind that one malfunctioning toilet is one thing, but multiple malfunctioning toilets is statistically so astronomically out of the range of possibility that it is incongruous to think of that as a viable option. Clearly, I was not alone in that building on the weekends. And, keep in mind that while I was working, I was working with love in my heart. I wanted to prepare the best lessons for my students. I wanted the best decorations in my classroom. I wanted the best educational environment to stimulate my students natural curiosity and learning, and to have the best possible configuration of desks and desk assignments to optimize the learning environment. I didn’t have to be there. No one else was. I did it out of love in my heart for all of my students. And, whoever the invisible entity was, trying to get my attention, must have been allowed to enter by the sentinel of angels surrounding our school. So, it must have been friend.
       Eventually, it came to the point that as soon as I would enter the building on the weekends, a toilet would flush, and I would say, “Hi,” out loud. No more random flushing. One toilet would flush when I came in, and I would say, “Hi.” By the way, I would say, “Goodbye,” when I left, but no toilet flushed when I left. Only when I came in.
       I told a few people about my experience with the flushing toilets, and one person said that the school had been built on ancient Ute burial grounds. I can’t verify that. Personally, I think that it was my guardian angel just letting me know that he/she was there, looking after me.
What do you think? Contact me.
___________________________________________________________
Resources:

Dead Man’s Cave:
Science Reviews (Historical)

Jacob Barlow's Travel Blog

Historical Marker Help

Princeton University Library

The Empress Theater:
KRCL:  Story of Us

Magna Ghost Stories:
The Ghost Miner
Background information: The mines in the Oquirrh Mountains, just west of Magna, Utah have changed ownership many times over the past two centuries. At the time of this story, the mines were owned by Kennecott. They are currently owned by Rio Tinto.

 

 
Click to buy.
NOTE:  This book is a work of fiction.  My story is not.

 



All Dressed in White, in Las Vegas
(a true ghost story, by Leon)

       I was a baker and doughnut-maker in 1993.  I started out as a baker, baking pies for the casinos in Las Vegas in 1993.  Then, my boss decided to expand into doughnut-making.  Baking was done during the day and the pies were frozen, but doughnut-making was done during the graveyard shift, so that the doughnuts were fresh in the morning.  I was trained to be the sole doughnut-maker, working graveyard shift, all alone in the huge warehouse bakery.

       It wasn't scary.  I didn't mind being alone.  What bothered me was the daunting task of making a hundred doughnuts of all kinds to perfection before the sun rose.  It felt like spinning straw into gold in a single night.  A lot of responsibility was placed upon my shoulders, and I wasn't up to the task, even though I said I was.

       Well, I was working all alone one night.  In fact, it was my first night alone in the warehouse-bakery.  I was getting all my equipment ready, and someone or something kept knocking them off the table.  I put the mixing bowl on the table, and it was knocked onto the floor.  I put the utensils on the table, and they'd be knocked off onto the floor.  At that point, I got super pissed off.  I yelled, "Stop it!"  I was pissed off because I was working on a deadline and now I had to wash the bowl and the utensils.  Whoever was messing with me was putting me behind schedule.

       Finally, I calmed down and got to work mixing up the dough.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man all dressed in white walk across the floor and through the wall.  It was the last time I ever worked there during graveyard shift.

 

Ghost on the Radio in Salt Lake City
(a true ghost story by Leon)

       It was 2017 and my son was too old to go trick-or-treating, and yet I wanted to do something special for him on Halloween.  We decided to visit some haunted spots in Salt Lake City on Halloween night.  I did some research and we found that the two most famously haunted spots in Salt Lake City are: (1) the Rio Grande Train Depot (now a historical landmark) and (2) the Salt Lake City cemetery.

       According to the stories, sometimes a young lady dressed in a purple dress can be seen in the windows at night.  Legend has it that she died trying to retrieve an engagement ring that had fallen onto the tracks.  Mostly she's been seen in the lady's restroom.  We went to the depot first, hoping for a glimpse of her through the windows, but the windows were all boarded up, or had curtains closed, so we couldn't see anything.  However, we were not entirely disappointed.  As we were walking around in front of the depot, a truck horn sounded.  No one was inside the truck--at least no one visible.  I walked right up to the truck and looked in the window.  No one was in that truck.

       Then, we went to the Salt Lake City cemetery.  We parked the car and walked around the cemetery.  Saw nothing but gravestones.  But, when we got back into the car and I turned on the ignition, the radio went from normal radio to static.  Then, we heard some people talking (nothing intelligible), then some really old music started playing, like from the 40's or 50's.  I did not recognize the song.  My son and I just looked at each other with incredulity in our eyes.  After about thirty seconds, the radio went back to normal.  We were freaked out, and we called it a night.

 

The Mongolian Ghost
(a true ghost story by Leon)

A Dead Sparrow on My Balcony
Tuesday, July 5, 2011  
By Leon

[FOREWORD:  You may be wondering what a Mongolian Ovoo has to do with a dead sparrow.  Well, read this recount and find out!]

Before I went to sleep last Friday night, I lay on the bed thinking about what my next article would be about.  When I awoke, I went out on my balcony to water my plants.  There was a dead baby Eurasian tree sparrow lying on my balcony.  I freaked out!  I thought, “Oh, my heavens!  What kind of omen is this?”

Interpolatively, am I superstitious?  Yes! I am superstitious.  I’ve always been superstitious.  When I was young, I used to make up my own superstitions.  For instance, I used to think that if I locked my bicycle in a certain spot, I’d have a good day at school.  When someone took my spot and I was forced to lock my bike in another location, I was sure to have a bad day.

As I stood there, mesmerized by the matter at hand, I wondered what a dead bird on one’s balcony portends.  I just had to know.  I called my friend, Markus.  He’s a Mongolian American.  I figured he’d know.  I asked, “What does it mean when someone finds a dead bird on their balcony in Mongolia?”  He replied, “It means the bird died on your balcony.”  He was no help.  So, I immediately sat at my laptop and began to search the web for answers.  I searched all day long.  I found nothing related to my predicament.  However, herein below is what I did find.

In the West, there is a superstition that if a bird flies into one’s home, there will be a death of a loved one.  Whew!  Dodged that bullet!  In Mongolia, apparently the belief is that if one comes upon a dead animal, one should spit three times and say, “I didn’t kill you.”  This is to avoid retribution from the spirit of the deceased animal.

Needless to say, I was a bit relieved that there wasn’t any bad omen associated with a dead bird.  However, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about it.  Questions plagued my mind.  Why me?  Why now?  Why on my balcony?  Somebody once said that there is no such thing as a mere coincidence.  I mean sure, the baby bird probably fell out of a nest on the roof of my building.  But, why?  How?  Did some evil spirit push it out of the nest?  Was it a message from the spirit world?  How was I to take it?  So, that night, after putting my son to bed, I went out on the balcony and said, “I didn’t kill you,” but I didn’t spit three times.  I didn’t spit at all.  That’s just nasty.

The next morning, I went out on my balcony again.  There on the telephone wires, no more than two meters away from me, practically eye to eye were two adult tree sparrows yelling at me.  I said, “I didn’t do it!  It was probably that lady two floors up who flicks vodka into the air.”  Then, a third sparrow flew right up to my balcony and gave me a severe scolding.  Again, I said, “I didn’t do it!”

Now, I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, “Leon, you are crazy!  You talk to birds?  Are you serious?”  Yes.  I’m serious.  The last thing I needed was a replay of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.   But, seriously, I believe that you can talk to animals, and they will in most cases understand your general intentions.

Now, I must digress and tell you about the lady two floors up.  I’ve seen her late at night in our apartment parking lot flicking some kind of liquid into the air in all four cardinal directions.  She spooned the liquid, which looked like a milk tea, out of her cup high into the air.  Clearly, she was performing some kind of shamanistic ritual, but I didn’t know why.  Did she want rain from the sky?  From my research about Mongolian shamanism, I learned that in the past Mongolians asked their shamans for rain, but now, they generally ask for money.  Sometimes Mongolian shamans will tell their clients to give offerings of milk tea or vodka to the spirits, in return for favors.  Perhaps that was the reason.  Perhaps she needed money.

“Ah, ha!” I thought.  However, I was a bit dismayed to go out on my balcony one sunny afternoon only to get a vodka shower.  You see my balcony is the lowest one and jets out a bit farther than the others above me.   I looked up to see what was causing my shower.  It was that old lady again flicking a clear liquid into the sky from her balcony.  In fact, I didn’t know what kind of liquid it was.  It could have been anything.  I’ve read that sometimes the shamans will tell their clients who are plagued by evil spirits to bathe in vodka and then throw it out the window to get rid of the evil spirit.  For all I know I was being showered with dirty bath vodka.  Maybe it worked, though.  Maybe the evil spirit left her home and entered the baby sparrow, and then it tried to fly away, but its wings weren’t fully developed.  Or just maybe, the old lady flicked the vodka a little bit too high and it got into the nest, intoxicating one of the little chicks, which then accidentally fell out of the nest.

Anyhow, let’s get back to my story.  After I convinced the adult sparrows that “…it wasn’t me”, they left me alone.  It became clear that I couldn’t just leave the little bird on my balcony.  I decided that it was time to bury the felled foul, whom we affectionately named “Sparrie”.  I put the lifeless little thing into a cardboard coffin and I said, “Let’s go bury Sparrie.”  My son and I went out into the field next to our apartment building, dug a grave with a spoon, and buried the bird, coffin and all.  Then, we erected an ovoo, or rock monument, on top of the grave and a headstone out of piece of polished granite we found lying in the field.  We said a little prayer that went something like this, “Dear God, please accept the spirit of our little sparrow friend, whom we’ve named Sparrie, into your heavenly abode.  Amen.”

For now, I think we have appeased the spirits.  Whatever happens next, I’m not going to spit three times.  That’s just nasty.   

UPDATE:  09.04.2022
AND, NOW:  THE REST OF THE STORY:  THE GHOST
(Updated much later; but you've got to read what happened next...
because it will figuratively blow your mind!)

Now, an ovoo, pictured above, is a very sacred thing in Mongolian tradition.  If one should happen upon one, one is supposed to (doesn't have to; but may if they want to) pick up a rock that is NOT part of the existing ovoo, walk around the ovoo three times, carrying the rock and saying a prayer.  Then, one places the rock on the ovoo.  This is akin to our Western tradition of adding a coin to a wishing well.  Just as it is extremely taboo to remove coins from a wishing well, it is extremely taboo to remove stones/rocks from an ovoo.

So, after we had buried Sparrie and erected the miniature ovoo on top of the grave, and said our little prayer, we retired to the apartment wherein we resided.  As we were going about our daily routines, my son experienced an odd event, which he relayed to me.  He told me that when he looked in the mirror in the living room, which was facing the balcony, he saw a Mongolian-looking woman standing on our balcony.  When he immediately turned around to look at the balcony, she was no longer there.  When asked what she was wearing, he said that she was wearing an ancient outfit with feathers all over it.

I, personally, believe that it was the spirit of the sparrow coming to thank us for what we had done for her.  I also, personally, believe that she tarried with us for the duration of our time in Mongolia as our guardian angel.  There were many "close calls" for my son and me while living in Mongolia, but we were always propitiously protected.

Please note:  It is NOT a Mongolian tradition to erect on ovoo on top of a grave.  But, I wanted to do something special for Sparrie.  I also wanted to teach my son to respect all creatures (dead or alive), even respect the spirit of a picayune tree sparrow.

 


 

 

The End

 

 


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