In one isolated little hamlet, they still build a “Hallowe’en bleeze.” The custom came with furs settling Perthspon, a wee village on Main Island. Och, they originally came from Perthshire ere time past counting. Like so many others they left Scotland during the Clearances, seeking their own way.
No other Spontoon village celebrates quite like Perthspon. In the morning of this day, the teen-agers go from house to house collecting the pumpkins and all the ingredients for unique pumpkin pies. Everything is carried to the central market square.
Then the teens head out to collect bundles of sticks and grasses collected during past weeks. They build up tall stacks on the tops of three hills that surround their village. After all is ready, they dig a small ditch ’round the fire in a circle, like the sun or like a pumpkin pie. Or one might wonder if it is more likely in answer to the moon. After all, the work is in the day, the excitement comes after dark.
All the mommy furs are gathered in
market square to make the pies.
Meanwhile, the mommies have made circle
after circle of piecrust.
The daddies have been busy too, building clay ovens around the edge of market square. Building fires and letting them burn down to coals. All will be just right for baking the pies. Mmmmmmmmm, every fur is anticipating this fall evening.
The pies go over the coals and a wondrous scent drifts on the evening air across the village. The teens come down from the hills carrying long poles, mosses tied tightly on top. They stand in a circle while mommies and daddies sit in the middle enjoying the pumpkin perfume, swaying and chanting softly while small children dance around them.
This is the In-Between Time. All the home fires have been extinguished. Every year, the Hallowe’en Bleeze allows everyfur to be thankful for what has come and what is yet to come. They let go of trials and tribulations of the past seasons, taking a break from everyday work and life. The air is mellow, the sounds are soft, children soon lie down on the ground and fall asleep.
In a little while, the teens stamp their poles on the ground and chant in praise of the old year that brought this bountiful harvest and suddenly run up the hills to light their torches from each hilltop bleeze. When the grown-ups see wobbly fires moving back toward them, they leave the square singing. By their doorways they wait until the torches arrive to re-light their hearth fires. Then reaching inside, everyfur grabs special new scarves and jewelry to wear in celebration.
All together now, they shift to joyous melodies and laughter. Dancing, waving their paws, all return to the square. The pies are ready. There is no more delay. The world has turned to show a new side. The grandmothers sing a special blessing on the harvest, the food, the furs and the whole village. Then all eat pie. The smallest children are fed first and quietly taken home to bed. The teens take their pumpkin pies back up the hills, sitting in circles they enjoy the feast and private moments. Next year some of them will be mommies and daddies.
All the grown-ups in the square together, smile at each other, dig into the pies, rejoicing in good fortune, sweet pumpkin flesh and each other. The mysterious moon watches over all. Secretly smiling.
[A public service announcement from the Ravin-Raven Radio & Newsreel Network!]
Pumpkin Tiki Sacrifices!
It is 1935!
See the primitive rites of the harvest festivals!
The dying heads of the pumpkin-folk piled in pyramids
at the altar-tables of the roasting oven temples!
The dances of the Squash Maidens! The prancing with the Pumpkin heads!
Heads carved open and the innards scooped out with sticky paws,
wet fibers plopping into slimy seed-gooey piles!
Shells of heads carved into gruesome guro tiki tribal features!
Burning flame for Brains! Orange glowing eyes in the darkness of the dancing groves!
KISSED BY SPICY half-to-three-quarters naked SAVAGE DANCERS!
HOT SPICY PIES!
EVEN BY CHILDREN!
THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
[Coming soon: A documentary of Spontoon Archipelago savagery,
here on the Ravin-Raven Radio & Newsreel Network!]
An article discovered by our informant
Anthropomorphologist from Toronto, Ontario.
"Pumpkin worship by the modern peoples of the Central Pacific islands is commonly thought to be a distant memory of primeval head hunting customs. Certainly it is true that the islanders of the Cook, Nimitz, and Piccard Seas did engage in head hunting wars long before the advent of European and Asian explorers in the 15th. and 16th. centuries. Many intact skull shrines are still popular tourist stops, particularly in the Spontoon Island Independencies, where they are protected by law. (Elsewhere they have been largely vandalized by unscrupulous relic hunters, and religious bigots.)
Another often heard theory is that the worship of pumpkins is a recent import from Europe, and indeed the Hallowe'en pumpkin is conflated in the popular imagination with the true Spontoon (or other Island) pumpkin.
Nor is it to be confused with The Great Pumpkin, a spurious invention dating from mid-20th. century America.
The true origin of Central Pacific pumpkin reverence lies elsewhere. To understand it, we must look instead to the moon. Anyone who has seen the great silvery orb of our sister planet, hanging over the dark Pacific, must remark on its ghostly features! The early peoples of the Central Pacific saw no "Man in the Moon" but a ghastly goblin. It leered down at them, hungering for the souls of anyone on the water after the sun had set. Often enough it's hunger was satisfied, as fishers frequently failed to return as expected at nightfall. To mark the home of a family whose son or father or brother had fed the insatiable goblin moon that night, neighbors carved its likeness on the Mocha-Moshe island fruit, and left its grinning presence by the hut door.
In later centuries the island fruit was replaced almost universally in cultivation by European crops. The great orange pumpkin, though the colour of blood and therefore life, replaced the Mocha-Moshe's pale skull like form. Similarly, the islanders grew to depend less on fish as a livelihood, and loses to the hungry moon diminished to rare occurrences. People began instead to place the image of the "living" moon outside their huts only during the Harvest Festival, a quaint remnant of the prior gloomy custom now celebrated by good cheer and feasting."
-- from "The Bowl Under the Sky: Modern Pacific Rim Folk Ways and Extinguished Customs of Past Ages", Prof. Roy Hinkley, BS, MA, Ph.D., 1956, Castaway Press, Honolulu.
|"Just imagine Fay Wray singing this with a
chorus of island maidens in that 1935 MGM Halloween epic that was
closed down by the Hayes Office:" - J. Maxwell Young
" Spontoon Halloween Croon"
Awash in a monsoon,
It's seldom seen
Because of the typhoon.
Beneath the tropic moon,
An orange glow
From far below
Recalls the tiki tune.
The island maidens croon.
Across the ghostly dune.
All gone so very soon,
Spontoon, Spontoon, Spontoon.
-Lyrics by J. Maxwell Young