Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hApPy HaLLoWeEn

We say Happy Halloween to anyone every end of October but do we know the history of this holiday? Kids donning costumes and doing the “trick or treat” stuff but why do we celebrate this tradition? We know why we celebrate Christmas, and those other holidays but do you know the history of Halloween?

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, if you’ve reading the Vampire chronicles by Anne Rice, it was on Samhain that Magnus was created… I’m getting ahead of myself again. Anyways back to Halloween’s history, 2,000 years ago the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. For complete history of Halloween please click

Some story huh, but it gets you thinking that maybe it is true, that most of Christian’s tradition have originated or a spinoff of pagan beliefs.

0 meow:


Related Posts with Thumbnails