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The Occult

Other Main Names:

  • Astrology, ouija board, psychic ability and fortune-telling, satanism, witchcraft

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The American tradition of Trick or Treating dates back to groups of druids who on one night a year would travel from house to house asking for "donations" of particular food items for their strange diets, virgins for sacrifice, etc. (These were the treats.) If the homeowner refused the druids would kill everyone in the house. (The trick.)

Hallowe'en has been strongly pushed in New Zealand by The Warehouse but after a poor sales year in 2002 they rethought their commitment to it and did not push it in 2003. In more recent years they have been pushing it again.

For more info see Hallowe'en in the main listing.


Although often used as a synonym for Christmas, Yule is actually a pagan festival held at winter solstice, or December 21, celebrating the sun and the power of the gods, Odin in particular.

The idea of a Yule log comes from the ancient Scandinavians, who would burn a specially prepared log (the bigger the better) over the solstice period to ward off demonic attacks and gain the blessing of the gods. The log had to be freshly cut, and would be annointed with various household substances such as oil and salt. After special prayers were said over it, lighting it was the job of the young girls of the family using pieces from the previous year's log. (This unlit portion was also supposed to protect the house from lightning during the year.) After cast iron stoves became popular the Yule log became a much smaller log decorated with candles and greenery and used as a table centrepiece during Christmas.

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