October 31, 2005 8:44 AM   Subscribe

David Skal talks about the Origins and Myths of Halloween. [MP3 file] The author of Death Makes A Holiday was interviewed in 2004 for the radio program Talking History. The Skal interview runs from 4:47 to 18:20 of the program. Skal briefly addresses some Halloween urban legends, which are more thoroughly debunked at Snopes Halloween page.
posted by LarryC (1 comment total)
"You should see what I'm wearing!": Charming moment of academic geekery.

Great link! I love Talking History, and this is a timely selection. Halloween is one of the most fascinating holidays to study, as its changing traditions really reflect deep cultural shifts. It was only last year that I learned how incredibly recent 'trick-or-treating' is -- I'm glad this show goes into it a bit.

He touches on the tradition of going door-to-door and begging for food as being associated with other holidays in earlier times -- most particularly, Thanksgiving. It would be fascinating to look for connections with European wassailing, which is essentially the same behavior. I have visions of people in medieval Europe basically spending the entire months of November and December begging at doors.
posted by Miko at 9:24 AM on October 31, 2005

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