Samhain, All Saints, Toussaint, Halloween, October 31st. Call it what you will, it's the ancient Pagan celebration of the end of harvest time, and of the end of summer.
Some dress-up in witch, ghost, or skeleton costumes. Some use it as an opportunity to hone their blackmailing skills (give us some sweets or we'll smash your windows). And some (ahem) try to ignore its very existance, by becoming deaf to the door bell.
Here in France, Toussaint is the time for chrysanthemums. These wretched plants are EVERYWHERE. I'm not even sure if it isn't obligatory to purchase them. Graveyards become carpeted with thousands of potted plants, and their foul smell and horrendous colours invade every supermarket, petrol station forecourt, and roadside lay-by.
Toussaint used to be the time when I quit France for the winter; prefering the much more sedate English celebrations of Guy Fawkes Night (Nov 5). In Sussex, we burn effigies of Guido (Guy Fawkes) himself, The Pope, and usually a most-hated politician or celeb, atop huge bonfires. All accompanied by wonderfully dangerous processions and firework displays.
If Pope burning sounds like your sort of entertainment, you can glean more info about Guy Fawkes Night in Sussex (see picture above) on the web. Google 'Lewes Bonfire Night'. You might be surprised by what we get up to.
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