lunes, 19 de octubre de 2009
STORY OF HALOWEEN
STORY OF HALLOWEEN
Halloween started out as a religious festival of the Celtic people. When "Celts" are mentioned, one often thinks first of the Irish, but technically England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Germany are all Celtic in origin.
This Pagan religious festival celebrated Samhain, the end of the harvest season. "Samhain" is Gaelic (Celtic language) for "end of Summer". [The "m" is silent. The word is pronounced "sowin".
Some ill-informed people believe that Halloween celebrates "Sam Hain, God Of Evil" This is completely untrue. Anybody who says this is such a poor scholar that you can't really trust anything else they tell you.
Samhain was also the end of the Celtic calendar, and a time to reflect on what had happened in the year and loved ones who had passed on.
When England and Ireland was Christianized by the Catholic church, evangelists took care to point out the similarities between the old and new religions. [Ours new religion is just like the old one, but new and improved!] They built churches on holy Pagan sites, and moved Christian holidays to the corresponding Pagan celebrations. [Have you ever wondered why Christmas is celebrated in December, while the Bible suggests that Jesus was born in the spring?]
The Catholic Church designated the following holidays:
November 2 - All Souls' Day
Rememberance of all the dead.
November 1 - All Saints' Day
Remembrance of the dead who found special favor with God. Since saints = holy people = hallowed, All Saints' Day is also known as All Hallows' Day.
October 31 (night) - Halloween
The evening before All Hallows' Day was called All Hallows' Eve, which was shortened to "Halloween".
Celtic immigrants brought Halloween to America, but it didn't take root until the mass Irish immigrations in the 1840s. In America, Halloween lost most of the religious aspects, increased the trick-or-treating, and was given more sinister overtones by German fears of witches spreading mischief on Walpurgisnacht (which is actually May 1, but what the heck). Americans also started making Jack o'Lanterns out of pumpkins, instead of the traditional turnips.