Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween.. A Night of Witches, Vampires and.. Lucky Charms?

It's been a while since I last posted, so I decided to go ahead and post an article I had tried selling to a marketing company. :) Yay Halloween's just around the corner!

Halloween.. The one night a year where Batman, Superman, and Cinderella rally together in a door-to-door hunt for chocolate and suckers. Laughter fills the night as children dressed in costumes ring door bells with sticky fingers and toothy "Trick or Treat"s.
With glowing Jack-O-Lanterns on doorsteps and white-sheeted ghosts, it seems very unlikely Halloween would have Celtic origins. However, it is believed Halloween first originated from a Celtic holiday called Samhain, where the Druids (Priests of the Celts) built massive bonfires.. Sacred to the townspeople, they would offer crops and animal sacrifices to the open flames for their Gods.
This event took place on the 31st of October (Halloween), the day before the Celt's New Year and the end of their harvest and summer. Celtic belief was that Samhain was a night of haunt. Believing ghosts of the world of dead were able to pass over the boundary and return to earth to reap havoc on the town's crops and produce other problems and troubles. It is said many would disguise themselves in animal skins as a sort of mask so as not to be recognized by the evil spirits when leaving their homes that night.
While the thinned boundary between spirit world and living was frightening to the Celts, they also believed that this time made it easier for their Priests to read the future.
Later, sometime in A.D. 600 to 700, one or several of the Popes, believed to be in an attempt to replace the Celtic event with a holiday approved by the Catholic church perhaps, moved All Saints' Day (also called All Hollows Day) from it's previous date early in the year to November 1st. Eventually the night before All Hollows Day became All Hollows Eve, which evolved into our modern holiday, Halloween. While this is a widely believed theory of how Halloween became, it seems to be only one of many.
Many believe, without foundation it seems, the Celtic festival Samhain was named after a God of Death. Others believe there wasn't a God of Death at all but that this is a myth fabricated by philosophers in earlier days. Other rumors say that the Druids were far from harmless and went from door to door in search of virgin sacrifices to offer to Samhain leaving a jack-o-lantern and candle made of human fat to ones who cooperated to ward off the evil spirits wandering through the streets that night. This is perhaps where some believe the traditional glowing pumpkin comes in seen on most doorsteps around Halloween.
Though there are many different beliefs throughout the world on the nature of Halloween when it first began, most everyone agrees it originated in the lands that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and some of France.
However it came about, Halloween in modern times is a festive holiday in which children and adults alike have the excuse to be who they want to be.. even if it is under a mask.

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