These days Halloween is a really fun time of year; dressing up, Halloween parties, carving pumpkins are all great traditions. And don’t think that lavender can’t play a part in this too. How about spoiling your ‘Trick or Treaters’ with a square of lavender fudge, a homemade lavender scone, a shard of lavender shortbread or what about trying your hand at lavender and chocolate truffles using some delicious lavender chocolate. You could even cover them in orange icing and add a neat bit of piping to make them look like little pumpkins!
However combining lavender and Halloween is not a new idea. Lavender has been used through the ages to protect us from evil spirits – and we all know that these are at their most active around the fateful All Hallows Eve.
Halloween is a shortened version of the terms ‘All Hallows Evening’ or ‘All Hallows Eve’ and is believed to have its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sah-win’). This was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, when pagans took stock of supplies and prepared for winter. The ancient Gaels also believed that at this time (specifically on October 31st) the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead were at their thinnest and thus evil spirits could rise and cause havoc. The practice of wearing costumes or masks was developed to either mimic and confuse evil spirits or to appease them.
However there is also a history of using lavender to drive away evil spirits. There are accounts of medieval monks wearing a sprig of lavender to banish evil spirits and folklore often advises planting lavender around your home to keep evil spirits outside of your boundaries. There are also a number of references to burning lavender to protect yourself and/or your home from evil spirits. Some references advise burning sprigs of lavender and scattering the ashes around your home, whereas other sources advise burning a lavender coloured/scented candle. Other sources also refer to grinding dried lavender to a powder, rolling a candle in that and then burning it that way.
Amongst our researches we found numerous references regarding how lavender can be used for protection and the drive away evil spirits, so this year at Halloween why not add a sprig of lavender to your pumpkin!