Saturday, October 31, 2009


The word Halloween has its origins in the Catholic Church and the contraction is done incorrectly from the term "All Hallows Eve" which means Day of All Saints, and corresponds to the first days of November, which is a Catholic day of observance in honor of Saints dead. But in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. That day marked the beginning of the Celtic New year and was celebrated with a holiday called Samhain.

The story goes that on that day the disembodied spirits of all those who died during the year, would come back in search of bodies of people living in which they inhabit during the coming year. It was believed that this was the only hope of life after death (ghoulish). The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirits of a linkage of the living. (Gahagan).

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed by spirits of the dead. So on the night of October 31, the villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes to make them cold and undesirable. They then dress up in costumes and paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess them (ghoulish).

During the Roman era, they adopted the Celtic practices as their own. However, in that the belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts and witches took on a religious belief to a ceremonial role.
So, although some work and satanic cults have adopted Halloween as their favorite holiday, the day did not originate in evil practices as some people suspect.

It grew out of the rituals of New Year celebration by the Celts and rituals of Europeans in the Middle Ages. Today Halloween is just what one makes of it, good or bad.

* Symbol of Halloween - Jack-O-Lantern

A pumpkin-lantern, (in English Jack-o-lantern) comes from Irish folklore.

According to the story, a man named Jack, who was a notorious drunkard and trickster, made a deal with the devil that was on top of a tree. Jack carved the image of a cross in the trunk of the tree, as a trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil if he never tried or torment him, Jack would erase the cross let him get down the tree.

According to the tale, after Jack died, his entrance into heaven was denied because of his dealings with the Devil. But the devil in hell fearing his jokes did not want it, then the devil, who had become his friend, gave a candle to light his paths. Jack then knew that having only that candle, it would have to last for eternity and he put it inside a turnip. The turnip was carved to be hollow and with holes for the passage of light emitted by the light of the candle.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns". But when the immigrants came to the United States, they found pumpkins much more appropriate than the turnips, and even today, is the most striking symbol of the event.

* Trick or treat

The custom of trick-or-treating (mischief-or-treating,: give us good things or we do mischief) seems to have originated in a European custom of the 9th called "Souling". On November 2, Day of All Souls Day of the Dead, Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes", or pies made of square pieces of bread with currants. The more cakes they received, the more prayers they would promise to the dead relatives of those who donated the pies. At that time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death and, through prayer, even by strangers, could expedite the passage of the blade to heaven.

It was also the Celtic culture that to appease evil spirits, it was necessary to leave food for them. This practice has been transformed over time and the beggars have come to beg for food in exchange for prayers for all the family members dead. In this context, there was a tradition in Ireland, a man leading a procession to raise farmers' offerings, so that their crops would not be cursed by demons. A kind of blackmail, which then led to the "Trick or Treat".

The custom of Halloween was brought to the United States in the 1840s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country by the shortage of their staple food, the potato. At that time, the mischief favorite in New England (U.S.), was writing on the walls of houses and remove the locks of the gates (ghoulish).

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