In addition to being harvest time and the peak of Autumn, October is Global Diversity Month! We at Indian River Select Brand truly understand the importance of diversity, it is a concept that is near and dear to us. Not only are we based in Florida (a state considered a melting pot of people from different cultures) we are a minority owned company. At Indian River Select we take pride in celebrating and supporting our local community by employing people from different cultural backgrounds. As a celebration of diversity, we thought it might be interesting to delve into how different cultures celebrate the fall season. We hope to inspire you and your family to embrace our differences and similarities by learning about different cultures and celebrating the season in different ways!
Let’s start off in our home, America. Everyone knows the iconic American Halloween activities; dressing up in costumes, carving your own jack’o’lantern, and the kids running around begging for candy. What are the roots of these activities? The practice of “guising” or dressing up on Halloween in North America was first recorded in 1911, it was written in a newspaper that children were “guising around the neighborhood”. Early Halloween costumes were often designed to imitate scary or supernatural beings such as ghosts, goblins, skeletons, and witches, looks like some things haven’t changed too much! Before this tradition was brought over to America, it was observed in Europe. There are many, many, different theories about the roots of “trick or treating”, I will only list a couple. What we call trick or treating today may have originated in something called “souling”. Souling was practiced by Christians in Western Europe starting in the 15th century. At “Allhallowtide” (October 31st) groups of people would travel door to door collecting “soul cakes” in return for saying their prayers for the dead. An account from a 19th century writer in England stated that Halloween “used to consist of parties of children, dressed up in fantastic costume, who went round to the farm houses and cottages, signing a song, and begging for cakes (spoken of as “Soal-cakes”), apples, money, or anything that the goodwives would give them”. What about the tradition of carving jack ’o’ lanterns, you say? To start off, a jack ‘o’ lantern is a gourd, usually a pumpkin that has had a scary or funny face carved into it and has a candle placed inside to light it from within. The custom of making jack ‘o’ lanterns is thought to have started in Ireland in the 19th century. On Halloween often times turnips were hollowed out to act as lanterns and into these were carved grotesque faces. Those who created these lanterns were thought to have been aiming to ward off evil spirits that were said to roam the Earth on Halloween. Placing a jack ‘o’ lantern on your windowsill or the entrance to your home on Halloween was a way to keep malevolent spirits away from your home.
Let’s move on to Mexico to explore another kind of fall celebration! Have you ever heard of The Day of the Dead or “Dia de los Muertos”? This is the iconic fall holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico! The Day of the Dead is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd it’s a holiday meant to honor the dead with lively festivals and offerings. It is said that this holiday originated with the combining of an indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism (which was brought into the region by the Spanish) which celebrates All Saints Day and All Souls Day on the same day as the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is about celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed with food, drinks, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. It is said those who passed would be upset to see their family being sad and mourning their deaths, since death is a natural part of life, so the goal instead is to remember them fondly and have a good time. The most recognizable symbols of the Day of the Dead are the “calacas” and “calaveras” or skeletons and skulls made of candy or as dolls which are depicted with many colors are meant to appear to be enjoying life and wearing nice clothes.
Last but certainly not least, is Diwali a holiday that is largely celebrated in India by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. Diwali is observed for four to five days in October, this year the dates are October 25th – 28th. You might be wondering what Diwali is all about, well, let’s dig in. Diwali is an autumn festival of lights, it symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.” The name Diwali has its roots in the Sanskrit term “dipavali” which means “row of lights” referring to the lights which are lit on the new-moon night. In the case of Diwali the lights are a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness. To celebrate this holiday buildings (including homes, temples, shops, and office buildings) are brightly illuminated. The festival typically lasts four to five days and the climax of the festivities takes place on the third day which always falls on the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (a month in the Hindu calendar that usually overlaps October and November). On the third day of Diwali celebrants adorn themselves in fine clothes and illuminate their homes with oil lamps made from earthenware or candles, prayers are said to Lakshmi (the goddess of prosperity and wealth), and families have feasts, share sweets and set off fireworks. This five-day long holiday was said to have originated in the Indian subcontinent and was mentioned in early Sanskrit texts.
There are so many different ways to celebrate the fall season, it is no wonder that October was chosen as a month in which to celebrate diversity! At Indian River Select we sincerely hope that however you celebrate it, this fall brings you good times with family and friends. We would also like to announce an addition to our little family of juices! We are now offering our 100% Valencia Orange Juice and Orange Honeybell Blend in 28oz sizes at local grocery stores. So if you are feeling like having something orange and festive you can always swing by the store and pick up one of our juices! Stay safe and happy fall to all!
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Halloween.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Halloween.
- “Halloween.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Sept. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween.
- National Geographic Society. “Dia De Los Muertos.” National Geographic Society, 9 Nov. 2012, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/dia-de-los-muertos/.
- “Diwali.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Sept. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali.
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Diwali.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Diwali-Hindu-festival.