Is it Real? Fact or Fiction?

Is it Real? Fact or Fiction?
Whaley House Oct. 2008

Thursday, October 21, 2010


All Hallow's Eve.  Sounds rather romantic.  It was never intended to be scary per se, however if it is indeed linked to Samhain as some historians believe, it would not be as unusual, because most of the modern day American holidays are based on paegan celebrations.

Since Halloween did not actually exist until the 1500s as All Hallows Evening, abbreviated as "Hallowe'en", for it to be the day before All Saint's Day where you celebrate the Saints both recognized and unrecognized as they are the way the dead can reach heaven.  The next day is All Souls day, or Dia de las Muertos, where you celebrate that the dead are on their journey to heaven. so you can see it was convenient to turn Samhain (a celebration of harvest and going from the light side of the year to the dark side, where bad spirits can cross over) into something the christian faith can celebrate too.

Strange, in Samhain, they would celebrate by dressing in ghoulish dress or costumes so the evil spirits couldn't tell they weren't one of them and take them away.  Hmmm sounds familiar. 

In some countries, like Portugal, it was/is a custom on All Saints day to have the children go door to door and receive cakes and fruit for which in return they would pray for the dead. curious how that works out.

Another derivation is Hallowmas, which actually is All Saints as well, or hallowed mass.  Some take it to the Celtic celebration of the Crone Moon which signifies the old wisened one, which usually occurs in the same time.  It signifies the new year in celtic times and many modern covens follow this.  It begins a dusk, the night before;  hmm like trick or treating at night...hmmm.  they also carved grotesque faces out of turnips  that had been hollowed out to distract evil spirits from the year's dead, which were slated to "cross over" if you will, the following day.

So; here is the rundown:
In celtic time, they celebrated Samhain; time of harvest at the Crone moon.  They feasted and lit a big fire to scare away evil for the dark part of the year.  They would then light their hearth fires with fire taken from the bonfire to protect them the remainder of the winter.

The Romans conquered them, they wanted all to celebrate their customes so they incorporated harvest day Celebration of the goddess Pomona (the apple) and their day of the dead and moved them to Samhain time so everyone would be celebrating together. 

Christianity took over that part of the world, but traditions were hard to break, so in the 800s they (the Pope) moved All Saints day, to celebrate the Saints from May to the same time as Samhaim.  They then created All Souls days to have the parades and bonfires for the dead.

By the 1500s Britan, who ran the church took the evening before All Saints day just like Samhain which starts at dusk the day before and made it all Hallows Eve, incorporating the feast of Pomona by bobbing for apples and giving fruit and nuts to the children creating a happy holiday for the church.

By the time we reach America who is a great melting pot of people to celebrate as they please, it did not catch on, at least not at first.  But with further emmigants coming to this lant the tradition began to meld into the celebration we have today.  by the mid 1800s they had Autumn festivals and Harvest Festivals but not yet halloween as we know it.

By 1846 after the flood of irish immigrants people began to shed the non-secular meaning and as a community they would have the children dress and ask for money and treats.  By the turn of the century when spiritualism was still high, it was a time for adults to have great parties, with divination (including the apple) being part of the games; food and costumes became grand.

Into the 20th century adults wanting to protect their children from frights made it more communal and more secular separating church from the celebration.

Halloween, sounds like candy to me, All Hallows Eve sounds romantic and mysterious, Samhaim sounds, odd and unusual.  which one will you celebrate?

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