Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Spooky Saturday

This Saturday it's October 31st, its when people celebrate Halloween. It is thought to be one of the nights of the year when ghosts, witches, and fairies are especially active. 

Well. I know that. But why do we exactly celebrate Halloween? 

The easy answer to this question is that no one really knows the origins of Halloween.

What we do know for sure is that Halloween is on the eve of a major Catholic festival, All Saints (1st November) and the eve of the pagan Celtic festival known as Samhain.

The three days between 31st October and 2nd November see pagan and Christian celebrations intertwined in a fascinating way and is a perfect example of superstition struggling with religious belief.

Currently, it is widely thought that Halloween originated as a pagan Celtic festival of the dead related to the Irish and Scottish Samhain, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times.
( source: Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton pages 360-70)

Did you know?:

Our ancestors celebrated New Year on November 1st. 
They celebrated their New Year's Eve on October 31st. 
Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in') marked the end of the "season of the sun" (Summer) and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold" ( Winter).

The Facts

Neither the word Halloween or the date 31 October are mentioned in any Anglo-Saxon text indicating that it was just an ordinary day a thousand years ago.

From the Medieval period (1066 - 1485) through to the 19th century, there is no evidence that 31 October was anything else other than the eve of All Saints Day.

From the 19th Century to the present day, 31st October has increasingly acquired a reputation as a night on which ghost, witches, and fairies, are especially active.

All Saints Day - 1 November

In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. Although it was a joyous holiday it was also the eve of All Souls Day, so in Medieval times it became customary to pray for the dead on this date.

Another name for All Saints Day is 'All Hallows' (hallow is an archaic English word for 'saint'). The festival began on All Hallows Eve, the last night of October.

Where does the name Halloween originate from?

Halloween comes from All Hallow Even, the eve (night before) All Hallows day. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

So there you have some background knowledge of why we celebrate Halloween and what their name originated from. 

Although Halloween began as a holiday for individuals who practiced the occult, it has since turned into something completely different. Halloween has really become all about the kids. It is about the fun of dressing up and pretending to be someone else for a night. It is about children gorging themselves on way too much candy. Unfortunately, there is also a sinister aspect to the holiday that has to do with children believing that they are entitled to received candy and vandalizing property when they don't get what they want.

Time for a poem, maybe it's your pre Writing Wednesday poem. Is that even a thing?

Witches brew their Halloween stew 
and stir the pot this day. 
Ghosts and goblins prepare themselves 
to eerily pass our way. 
Skeleton bones rattle and shake 
and come alive in the night. 
Once again we're reminded of death 
as the moon casts its light. 

A chill in the air is felt by all 
and a shiver runs through man. 
Let us hold on fervently to our life 
and defy this unearthly plan. 
This night shall pass. Dawn will appear 
and the Halloween stew will disappear. 
All will be as it was before 
this eerie night of the year

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