The Origins of the Halloween Witch

Since Halloween is coming soon, I thought a story about witches would be a great idea.

Ever wondered why witches wear large pointy hats, carry a broomstick, and have cauldrons?  There's a history behind those icons.  Not only that, but witches have a history with beer and beverages. 

Alan Eames, beer historian and author, talked about the significance of women and beer in his book The Secret Life of Beer.  In it, he discussed how back in the early times, when villages were relatively small and simple folk walked the land, women were commonly found working as midwives and brewsters.  Brewster being a term for brewing beer and such.

During those times, the brewsters were usually young and beautiful (or bewitching, one could say), making herbals and such.  Some of those early recipes included selling beer as a mood-enhancing drug for the public.  In order to make themselves rise and appear more visable, the brewsters would wear pointy hats.  They would have cats to protect their grain storages, whilst they brewed in their cauldrons.  Of course over time, these women began to get into trouble, so they would eventually resort to selling these brews in more remote locales, away from local officials.

Thats where they began to use broomsticks as a sign for customers.  Originally, the broomsticks would be located above the doorway of the abode, but eventually, brewsters decided to place them alongside the road or even on the road.  

These women were persecuted for their work, but beer remained a staple among villagers.  These factors eventually led to the witch as we now know it, pointy hat, broomstick and all.  Who would've guessed that witches and beer actually had something in common?

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2 Responses to “The Origins of the Halloween Witch”

  1. 1 pillboxproductions October 27, 2007 at 9:08 am

    that was fun to read! excellent story!

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