Friday, October 31, 2008

Ever Wonder? The Origin of Halloween

Beyond the broomsticks, masks and candy, Halloween is one of the oldest withstanding holiday traditions.

So where did it all begin and where did the concept of Halloween emerge from?

The History Halloween:

Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday that was chosen to honour the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day. All Saints Day was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic Church honored saints on this designated day and continued their quest to create a sole world-dominating religious empire.

It was believed that All Hallows Day (Halloween) was the day that the dead returned to the land of the living. The unique circumstance of opening this porthole between the alive and the dead also allowed for the emergence of evil spirits, such as witches and demons.

Iconography of Halloween:

The meaning of Halloween is deep seeded in Christian viewpoints. Next time you dress-up think of what you are presenting beyond the flash of your costume.

When examining the history of Halloween it is quickly identifiable that symbols of evil in Christianity became central points of iconography for Halloween.

A solid way to identify this is looking at the history of witchcraft, for example, which was documented as a hunt for so-called evil women that practiced Wicca, or witchcraft. Rather than accepting the destitute that plagued illness and the social and literal drought into a reality of day-to-day life, the Catholic Church maliciously blamed general women (witches) for the human misfortunes that befell culture at large.

Disease and poverty were rampant and as the authority of the Church could not control the ethereal reality - they blamed these circumstances on evil acts of women with supernatural powers. Green with envy, evil became a symbolism of witchcraft.

The concept of good and evil being humanly innate here on earth and beyond was also founded in Halloween. Surely one would not desire to enter the afterlife of hell over the serenity of heaven.

Persecution helped to push and popularize the concept of repenting and flagellation. This led to the hysteria of Indulgences being sold by the Church to grant people asylum from their sins on earth.

Buying your salvation was sold to give peace from fearing an encounter with witches and demons.

So Why Candy on Halloween?

The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.

In other words, treats were used to bribe the dead into staying kind to the living.

While Halloween is mainly a holiday of Christian cogitation, almost every culture has some belief in the afterlife and spirits.

**************Have a safe and Happy Halloween!*******************
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