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 Post subject: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:01 pm 
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I heard it can be traced back to a pagan origin? Is that true? :idea:

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:12 pm 
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Search history channel, it tells all bout it.

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:15 pm 
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yes, well somewhat samhain is the pagan celebration of the "dark months' harvest and spirits

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:40 am 
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Which would probably be of concern to me if I were a Catholic, but I'm not.

The increased secularization of holy days, or holidays, gives them a broader appeal to more people, which makes them more likely to survive. It also means they are less about subservience to mythical beings, and more about fun, pleasure, and joy here on earth. That makes it win-win.


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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:02 am 
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You can't fight the Candy Gods...it just isn't possible...in the end...Candy always wins... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:18 am 
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MacPhantom wrote:
Which would probably be of concern to me if I were a Catholic, but I'm not.

The increased secularization of holy days, or holidays, gives them a broader appeal to more people, which makes them more likely to survive. It also means they are less about subservience to mythical beings, and more about fun, pleasure, and joy here on earth. That makes it win-win.


What he said. Though I must admit being partial to a few mythical beings.

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:12 am 
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I got a response from someone else about this Halloween's roots...


Quote:
This is true. From my understanding the Pagans celebrated Samhain, a festival that recognized the time of light and harvest as it transcended into the time of darkness and desolation. The Druids also celebrated heavily during this time of year, believing that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was at its thinnest around Samhain! The Romans had their Pomona day, and eventually Christianity and Catholicism got in the mix as well. The churches regarded these holidays as pagan and barbarian, and in time developed the varied holidays (with their varied beliefs) into a purified version. Thus we have All Saints Day, All Souls Day, All Hallows Eve and of course Halloween. There are still Pagan cultures who celebrate Samhain today!

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:41 pm 
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As per History Channel's website....
--------

Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children's holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.

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Contents
Ancient Origins of Halloween
Halloween Comes to America
Today's Traditions
Superstitions

Ancient Origins 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 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.

Halloween Comes to America
As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. Because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England, celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited there.

It was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft.

At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

Today's Traditions
The American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Superstitions
Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today's Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today's trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday--with luck, by next Halloween!--be married.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl's future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands' initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands' faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Of course, whether we're asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the good will of the very same "spirits" whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly. Ours is not such a different holiday after all!

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:57 pm 
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What he said.

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:05 am 
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Remember this thread from last year? I'd like to see everyone to post some new post here! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:19 am 
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Happy to post, but I doubt that I have anything to add to the summaries above. I have done a fair amount of research regarding Halloween over the last few years, and I think I have uncovered most of what there is to be known about it.

The word "hallow" means sanctified or saintly. Christians still use it regularly in the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name." (Actually, I think "hallow" is the noun form and "hallowed" is the adjective, but you get the idea.)

My mother, who was born in the American South (Arkansas), said that Halloween was scarcely regarded in her childhood. Occasionally some teenaged boy would play a prank, that was all. As a young woman in the 1930s, she moved to California, and she said she first heard about TOTing out there. It seemed to her that the custom spread eastward from the West Coast. I have read at least one account on line which says the same thing, but I guess it's possible that there were several points of origin for modern TOTing.

I believe TOTing became general in the US after WWII.

I don't see why Christians should be any more worked up over the pagan origins of Halloween than they are over the pagan aspects of our Christmas celebration, or of Easter, for that matter.


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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:41 am 
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I can't really add a lot either. I'll put in a bit about the Jack O'Lantern though:

The story of the carved vegetable as a lantern comes in many variants and is similar to the story of Will-o'-the-wisp retold in different forms across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. An old Irish folk tale tells of Stingy Jack, a lazy yet shrewd farmer who uses a cross to trap the Devil. One story says that Jack tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, and once he was up there Jack quickly placed crosses around the trunk or carved a cross into the bark, so that the Devil couldn't get down. Another tale says that Jack put a key in the Devil's pocket while he was suspended upside-down.

Another version of the story says that Jack was getting chased by some villagers from whom he had stolen, when he met the Devil, who claimed it was time for him to die. However, the thief stalled his death by tempting the Devil with a chance to bedevil the church-going villagers chasing him. Jack told the Devil to turn into a coin with which he would pay for the stolen goods (the Devil could take on any shape he wanted); later, when the coin/Devil disappeared, the Christian villagers would fight over who had stolen it. The Devil agreed to this plan. He turned himself into a silver coin and jumped into Jack's wallet, only to find himself next to a cross Jack had also picked up in the village. Jack had closed the wallet tight, and the cross stripped the Devil of his powers; and so he was trapped.

In both folktales, Jack only lets the Devil go when he agrees never to take his soul. After a while the thief died, as all living things do. Of course, his life had been too sinful for Jack to go to heaven; however, the Devil had promised not to take his soul, and so he was barred from hell as well. Jack now had nowhere to go. He asked how he would see where to go, as he had no light, and the Devil mockingly tossed him an ember that would never burn out from the flames of hell. Jack carved out one of his turnips (which was his favourite food), put the ember inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern", or Jack-o'-Lantern.

The term jack-o'-lantern originally meant a night watchman, or man with a lantern, with the earliest known use in the 1660s in East Anglia; and later, meaning an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp. In Newfoundland and Labrador, both names "Jacky Lantern" and "Jack the Lantern" refer to the will-o'-the-wisp concept rather than the pumpkin carving aspect.


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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:29 am 
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Jack Skellington wrote:
I can't really add a lot either. I'll put in a bit about the Jack O'Lantern though:

The story of the carved vegetable as a lantern comes in many variants and is similar to the story of Will-o'-the-wisp retold in different forms across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. An old Irish folk tale tells of Stingy Jack, a lazy yet shrewd farmer who uses a cross to trap the Devil. One story says that Jack tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, and once he was up there Jack quickly placed crosses around the trunk or carved a cross into the bark, so that the Devil couldn't get down. Another tale says that Jack put a key in the Devil's pocket while he was suspended upside-down.

Another version of the story says that Jack was getting chased by some villagers from whom he had stolen, when he met the Devil, who claimed it was time for him to die. However, the thief stalled his death by tempting the Devil with a chance to bedevil the church-going villagers chasing him. Jack told the Devil to turn into a coin with which he would pay for the stolen goods (the Devil could take on any shape he wanted); later, when the coin/Devil disappeared, the Christian villagers would fight over who had stolen it. The Devil agreed to this plan. He turned himself into a silver coin and jumped into Jack's wallet, only to find himself next to a cross Jack had also picked up in the village. Jack had closed the wallet tight, and the cross stripped the Devil of his powers; and so he was trapped.

In both folktales, Jack only lets the Devil go when he agrees never to take his soul. After a while the thief died, as all living things do. Of course, his life had been too sinful for Jack to go to heaven; however, the Devil had promised not to take his soul, and so he was barred from hell as well. Jack now had nowhere to go. He asked how he would see where to go, as he had no light, and the Devil mockingly tossed him an ember that would never burn out from the flames of hell. Jack carved out one of his turnips (which was his favourite food), put the ember inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern", or Jack-o'-Lantern.

The term jack-o'-lantern originally meant a night watchman, or man with a lantern, with the earliest known use in the 1660s in East Anglia; and later, meaning an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp. In Newfoundland and Labrador, both names "Jacky Lantern" and "Jack the Lantern" refer to the will-o'-the-wisp concept rather than the pumpkin carving aspect.




I remember this and I also seem to remember reading something about how children carved faces into the turnips to ward off evil or mischievous fairies. Does that sound familiar to you Jack?


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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:19 pm 
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Yes it does Pumpkin56 .

Turnips were a lot harder to carve though than Pumpkins!

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 Post subject: Re: Halloween's roots
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:34 am 
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Jack Skellington wrote:
Yes it does Pumpkin56 .

Turnips were a lot harder to carve though than Pumpkins!




Also, they do carve potatoes. :D

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