Mayor’s column 26 October

I’ve been looking up the origins of the night time high jinks that goes on at Halloween. There are so many cultures that do something and all of them seem to be linked with ideas of light and dark, life and death, the end of harvest; when the product of life is so visible, and the beginning of winter; when little is growing and the sun’s warmth is less. This explains why we might dress up as ghostly things… the folklore says, that for one night, the separation of those that live and those that are dead is indistinct so ghouls appear in the land of the living and cause mischief. On this night we make lanterns to shed light. Over time folklore, marking of the changing seasons and religious connections get all muddled up. There is no one way to mark this time. It seems to me that it’s good time to remember our relatives including those that are long gone. Get those old sepia print photos out and ask about each person…  their name, what they did what they were like. Remember stories about them so that they are not forgotten.

Some people feel threatened and anxious by the pranks of trick or treat. Please be considerate when your out next Tuesday.

For the town, Frome Society for Local Study helps us remember the great and good that once lived here. On Friday they will be remembering the life of Alice Seeley, Lady Harris with a plaque to be placed in Merchants Barton where she once lived. Alice and her husband were missionaries in the Congo. While there, Alice took many photos revealing the atrocities towards the native workers so common at that time on the rubber plantations. Alice’s photos helped to convince people across the world that this slavery should end.