FolkNotes: October

Now October’s growin’ thin, and November’s comin’ home . . .

I never move into October without having these lovely lyrics come into my head. It’s from Turning Towards the Morning, a song Gordon Bok wrote, way back in 1975. I probably heard it for the first time a year or two later, and I’ve remained enchanted with the song all these years.

We’re moving into the time of year where there are many ancient folk traditions celebrated. At the end of October, Sawhain, an ancient Celtic festival on which, with typical modern American distortion, the “tradition” of Halloween has sprung. On the other hand, perhaps the strongest original American tradition is the Thanksgiving holiday that follows, though that too has been subject to increased commercial influence. We hardly dare mention Christmas in that regard, but will note the more relevant Solstice. Read more