Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve History of the Blessed Dead
It’s that time of year again…Halloween. Children love it for they march from house to house gathering all the candies that their parents won’t let them eat throughout the year. Teachers hate it for students sneak in the candies to class the next day. Adults who throw Halloween parties…dress up…and act like kids..or wild adults who get into the “spirit” may go all out for the occasion. For some it is a time for mischief and tricks…that may not be so funny. Parents in our neighborhood usually walk with their children…or give them a hay ride on a flat-bed truck.
What is the History of this holiday? We’re here to share it with you. Here goes…with a few interesting pictures at the end that may get make those chills run up your spine.
According to the writer Christian Hummel:
- More complete HISTORY of Halloween or ALL HALLOW’S EVE:
All Hallow’s Eve, Hallow E’en, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain. By whatever name it has been called, this special night preceding All Hallows day (November 1st) has been considered for centuries as one of the most magical nights of the year…As ubiquitous as Halloween celebrations are throughout the world, few of us know that the true origin of Halloween is a ceremony of honoring our ancestors and the day of the dead.
In ancient times, this day was a special and honored day of the year. The Celts believed that the normal laws of space and time were held in abeyance during this time, allowing a special window where the spirit world could intermingle with the living. It was a night when the dead could cross the veils and return to the land of the living to celebrate with their family, or clan. As such, the great burial mounds of Ireland were lit up with torches lining the walls, so the spirits of the dead could find their way.
- The Jack-o-lantern
Out of this ancient tradition comes one of our most famous icons of the holiday: the Jack-o-lantern. Originating from Irish folklore, the Jack-o-lantern was used as a light for the lost soul of Jack, a notorious trickster, stuck between worlds. Jack is said to have tricked the devil into a trunk of a tree and by carving an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, he trapped the devil there. His pranks denied him access to Heaven, and having angered the devil also to Hell, so Jack was a lost soul, trapped between worlds. As a consolation, the devil gave him a sole ember to light his way through the darkness between worlds. Originally in Ireland turnips were carved out and candles placed inside as lanterns lit to help guide Jack’s lost spirit back home. Hence the term: Jack-o-lanterns. Later, when immigrants came to the new world, pumpkins were more readily available, and so the carved pumpkins carrying a lit candle served the same function.
- The Christian Church moves away from the pagans:
As the Christian Church began to take hold in Europe the ancient Pagan rituals were co-opted into festivals of the Church. While the Church could not support a general feast for all the dead, it created a festival for the BLESSED dead, all those hallowed so, All Hallow’s, was transformed into All Saints and All Souls day… Today, we have lost the significance of this most significant time of year which in modern times has turned into a candy fest with kids dressing up… Many cultures have ceremonies to honor their dead. In so doing, they complete a cycle of birth and death, and keep in line with a harmony and order of the universe, at time when we enter into the cycle of darkness for the upcoming year.
- Lighting candles to remember those who have died
As you light your candles (or flashlight in your pumpkin) this year, keep in mind the true potency of this time, one of magical connections to the other side of life, and a time to remember those who have passed before us. A time to send our love and gratitude to them..
- Loving to be scared
Having given the history, we may just put you in the mood for this so-called scary of all nights. Even if you do not walk through a cemetery, you may want to see some pictures that may remind you of the haunted…the forsaken…of Halloween tales as we know them.
These pictures were taken in England by photographer Andre Govia. If you want a really good view of details, click on any picture to enlarge…then arrow back for the next picture. HAPPY Halloween or ALL HALLOW’S EVE!!