Understanding About Hallowe’en

Understanding About Hallowe’en

Halloween or Hallowe’en (short for All Hallows’ Evening , which means the Night of All Saints ), [5] which is also referred to as Allhalloween , [6] All Hallows’ Eve , [7] or All Saints’ Eve . [8] Halloween is a celebration that can be found in a number of countries on October 31 , the night of All Saints ‘Day ( All Hallows’ Day ) in the Christian West . The celebration begins the tri-day commemoration The Season of the Saints ( Allhallowtide ), [9] a period in the liturgical year dedicated to the memory of those who have died, including saints or saints ( saints , hallows ), martyrs and all the spirits of the faithful. [10] [11]

There is a widespread belief that many Halloween traditions stem from ancient Celtic harvest festivals that may have pagan roots , particularly the Gael ethnic Samhain festival , and that the festival was Christianized as Halloween. [1] [7] [12] [13] [14] [15] Others believe that Halloween began independently as a purely Christian celebration, separate from ancient festivals such as Samhain. [1] [16] [17] [18] [19]

Halloween activities include trick or treat (or anything related to disguises in spooky costumes), attending a Halloween costume party , decorating , carving a pumpkin into a Jack-o’-lantern , lighting a big bonfire , divination or divination games , apple bobbing , playing practical jokes , visit haunted attractions , tell scary tales, and watch horror movies . In many parts of the world, Christian religious celebrations on Saints’ Eve, such as attending church services and lighting candlesat the tomb, it remains popular, [20] [21] [22] although elsewhere there are more secular and commercial celebrations. [23] [24] [25] Some Christians have historically abstained from meat on Saints’ Eve, [26] [27] a tradition reflected by eating certain foods on this vigil , such as apples , potato pancakes , and soul cakes

The use of the word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates back to around 1785 [30] and comes from Christianity. [31] The word “Hallowe’en” means “sanctified night” or “holy night”, [32] and comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (The Night of the Saints, i.e. the night before All Saints’ Feast ). [33] In Scots , the word “eve” is even , and is shortened to e’en or een . As time goes by,Hallowe’en . The phrase “All Hallows” is found in Old English , but the phrase “All Hallows’ Eve” is not seen until 1556.

Today’s Halloween customs and traditions are thought to have influenced the beliefs and customs of people in Celtic-speaking countries , some of which are believed to have pagan roots . [35] [36] Jack Santino , a folklorist , writes that “throughout Ireland there was a disturbing agreement between the customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and all matters relating to Irish religions prior to the advent of Christianity”. [37]Historian Nicholas Rogers, while tracing the origins of the celebration of Halloween, notes that although “some folklorists have detected its origins in the ancient Roman celebration of Pomona , the goddess of fruit, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia , the celebration is more specifically associated with the Celtic festival. Samhain “, which comes from Old Irish for “late summer “. [35] Samhain (pronounced sah -win or sow -in ) is the first and most important of the four quarter days in the Gaelic calendarmedieval times and celebrated in Ireland, Scotland , and the Isle of Man . [38] [39] The celebration took place on or around October 31 – November 1 and a family festival was held at the same time by the Britonic Celtics ; called Calan Gaeaf in Wales , Kalan Gwav in Cornwall , and Kalan Goañv in Brittany . For the Celts, the day began and ended at sunset; hence, according to modern calculations, the festival begins in the evening leading up to November 1st. [40]Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of the oldest literature from Ireland and Wales. These names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs as far back as the 19th century, [41] and are still used today as Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween.
Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year. [42] [43] Much like Belatane / Calan Mai , the celebration is seen as a time of threshold, when the boundary between this world and the Other World is thinning. This means that Aos Sí (pronounced ees shee ), the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, can more easily come into this world and this view is strongly held by them. [44] [45] Most academics view Aos Sías “degraded versions of the ancient gods […] whose influence is still strong in people’s minds even though they have been officially replaced by later religious beliefs”. Aos Sí was both respected and feared, and people often sought God’s protection when they returned to their homes. [46] [47] During the Samhain celebrations, it was believed that Aos Sí needed to be appeased to ensure that the people and their livestock could survive the winter. Offerings of food and drink, or part of the crop, were left outside for Aos Sí . [48] [49] [50] SoulThe souls of the deceased are also said to revisit their homes for hospitality. [51] Places were arranged at the dining table and by the fire to welcome them. [52] The belief that the souls of the deceased return home one night of the year, and must be reassured, seems to originate in ancient tradition and is found in many cultures around the world. [53] In 19th-century Ireland, “candles would be lit and prayers officially offered for the souls of the dead. After that a meal, drinking and games would begin”. [54]

Throughout Ireland and Britain, domestic celebrations include rituals and games intended to predict a person’s future, particularly in connection with death and marriage. [55] Nuts and apples are often used in this ritual of divination . These rituals include apple bobbing , staring at a crystal ball or mirror, pouring melted lead or egg white into water, and dream interpretation . [56] A special large bonfire was lit and rituals took place involving it. Its ashes, smoke, and flames were thought to have cleansing and protective powers, and were also used for divination.[41] [42] In some areas, torches lit from bonfires are carried around houses and gardens in the direction of the sun in the hope of gaining protection. [41] There is an impression that the fire is some kind of sympathetic or artificial magic – as an imitation of the Sun, aiding the “power of growth” and resisting the decay and darkness of winter. [52] [57] [58] In Scotland, this game of divination and bonfires is prohibited by church presbyters in some parishes. [59] Later these bonfires were used to “get away from the devil “
Since at least the 16th century, [61] the game mummer and disguises ( guising ) are included in the festival in Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man and Wales. [62] In this game people walk from house to house wearing costumes (or disguised), and usually chanting rhymes or songs to get food. [62] That may be because it was originally a tradition in which people disguised themselves as Aos Sí , or the souls of the deceased, and received offerings on their behalf, similar to the custom of souling.. Imitating these creatures, or wearing disguises, is also believed to protect oneself from them. [63] It has been argued that mute and disguised showmen “transformed into old winter spirits, demanding rewards for good fortune”. [64] In parts of southern Ireland, disguisers include hobby horses . A man dressed as Láir Bhán ( white mare) and leading young people around from house to house chanting verses—some of which had pagan overtones—in exchange for food. If a household donates food then they can wish luck from the ‘Muck Olla’; otherwise it will bring misfortune. [65] In Scotland, youths go from house to house with masks, faces painted or discolored, often threatening to commit mischief if they are not welcomed. [62]

F. Marian McNeill argues that ancient festivals involved people in such costumes representing spirits, and faces marked (or blackened) with ashes taken from sacred bonfires. [61] In some parts of Wales, males who dress as scary creatures are called gwrachods . [62] In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young people in Glamorgan and Orkney were cross-dressing . [62]In other parts of Europe, silent skits and hobby horses are part of other annual festivals. But in the Celtic-speaking area it was “particularly suited to a night in which supernatural beings are said to have wandered and could be imitated or avoided by human wanderers”. [62] Since at least the 18th century, “imitating ferocious spirits” has led to pranks in the highlands of Scotland and Ireland. [62] Dressing up in costumes and playing pranks on Halloween spread to England in the 20th century. [62] For those who play disguises and jokes outside the house at night, as traditional lighting in some places, turnip or mangelwurzel lanterns are usedwhich is perforated and often carved into a strange face. [62] By those who make them, the lanterns are said to represent spirits, [62] or used to ward off evil spirits. [66] [67] It was common in parts of the highlands of Scotland and Ireland in the 19th century, [62] as well as in Somerset (see Punkie Nights ). Then in the 20th century it spread to other parts of England and became known generally as the jack-o’-lantern .


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