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Perfect for Halloween
Set of 4 Kurt Adler Glass Christmas Icicles
A Little Halloween History…
Our word Halloween is derived from the old words All Hallows Even (All Hallows Evening) because it was the eve of All Hallows Day (I November). Hallow is an old word for saint and today we call 1 November All Saints Day.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain; from the Old Irish samain). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.
In pagan times, October 31 was New Year’s Eve, a night of evil and terror when all hell broke lose. Goblins and ghosts were abroad that night, while witches celebrated their black rites as the spirits and souls of the dead roamed the earth. To frighten the evil spirits and to bolster their own sagging spirits, our ancestors created a din with bells, horns, pots and pans, (just as we still do at midnight on December 31st), and built fires to frighten the witches or perhaps burn them if they might get caught. On the afternoon of October 31st, village boys would go from house to house collecting fuel for the midnight fires. Everyone was expected to contribute some peat or “coal pieces” to help burn the witches. Those who did not received dire warnings of the evil consequences that might follow.
In the 4th century the Church began to celebrate a feast to all the martyrs. At first it was celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June). The Eastern Orthodox Churches still celebrate it on that day. However in the West in 609 or 610 Pope Boniface IV moved the feast of all martyrs to 13 May. Then in the 8th century Pope Gregory III (731-741) made 1 November a feast to remember all saints and it became known as All Saints Day or All Hallows Day.
After the 16th Century Reformation All Saints Day and Halloween were virtually forgotten in most of England, along with most other saints days. However Halloween continued to be observed in Scotland and Ireland. There was a belief that ghosts and witches were particularly active on that day.
Copyrights © 2009 Sharon Ely Pearson. Church Publishing Incorporated. All rights reserved.
This information was found at read more on Halloween, click here.
- A traditional Irish Halloween turnip (rutabaga) lantern on display in the Museum of Country Life, Ireland.
- A jack-o’-lantern, one of the symbols of Halloween representing the souls of the dead.
- Snap-Apple Night, painted by Daniel Maclise in 1833, shows people feasting and playing divination games on Halloween in Ireland.
- An early 20th-century Irish Hallowe’en mask displayed at the Museum of Country Life.
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