The day after the night before… I hope you had a fun and safe Halloween. I’ve always loved Halloween, even as a grownup but Grandma was not a fan! She did, however, look forward to All Hallows’ Day.
All Hollows’ Day, also known as All Saints' Day, Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints, is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In the west, it’s celebrated today, Nov. 1, by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant churches.
On Nov. 1, Grandma used to bundle up and go for a walk down the concession road to the nearest beech tree. Odd thing to do? Maybe, but not if you’re Grandma! Did I mention she would bring a good knife with her? She did. When she got to the tree, she would remove a chip of bark from the tree. According to Grandma and many of our ancestors, if the chip from the beech tree was dry, the winter would be warm!
Here’s a little information on the beech tree: In 19th century England, the oil from the tree was used for cooking and to fuel lamps. You won't see as many beech trees in urban environments, they don’t like city living; the carbon monoxide robs the tree of its natural beauty.
By the way, in France, and throughout the Francophone world, today is known as “La Toussaint.” Wreaths called ‘couronnes de toussaints’ are placed at each tomb or grave.
Tomorrow, Nov. 2, is All Souls’ Day. As far as I know, a day off for my prognosticating Grandma!