Thursday, October 30, 2008

ANCIENT ORIGINS - The REAL stroy of Halloween


Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The History of Halloween.

Video: The haunting History of All Hallow's Eve (Halloween).

Video: Timothy Dickinson tells the intriguing tale of why we celebrate Halloween, and it's evolution from Samhain, an ancient Celtic Harvest Festival.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.


Anonymous said...

I love the picture of Michael Jackson. My daughter just learned the Thriller dance this year. It's a Thriller Halloween at our house.

Izabella~ said...

whoo hoo...this song just makes me want to dance! ;)

thanks for sharing info about Halloween~ I was just sharing "some" info with them, the origination, but your post definately adds much more to it!!

have a fun Halloween my dear!!

xo~ Bella

whymsicalmusings said...

Patti I am so excited to have you post my email to your site. I will come by often!!!! Sending you hugzzz.

Annette said...

I knew some of it but I couldnt remember all of it, very interesting, being Catholic I know about the "Day Of Saints" it's one of my favorite times in church, and "Thriller" I remember that viedo on t.v. back when I was in High School, how funny.....Thanks for sharing and I hope your having great evening.


Nonnie said...

makes me want to dance too!!!! happy halloween, patti!

Jann said...

Interesting info! Happy Halloween! By the way, I emailed Lori a couple of days ago for her address so I could send her my 2 ATCs, but haven't heard back from her. . . Have a great weekend, Patti! Love, Jann

Anonymous said...

That's very interesting. Since I'm half Irish, I'm always fascinated with the history of my ancestors. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate that. I haven't yet decided on a picture for a banner but I'm working on it. I want to play around with it this weekend to see if I can figure this out. Thanks for being a friend!

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

You always have the most interesting articles on your site.
Sending you love, Nita