Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween... The night of ghosts, ghouls, and most things that go bump in the night.

By Jennifer Furgerson
It is no surprise that many paranormal investigators love Halloween, or at least this time of year. Many believe that it is the one time of the year that the veil between the dead and the living is at its weakest. Many others believe that its a night of evil rather than good. So, who is right, who is wrong? To better answer this let's look at where the idea of where Halloween came from.

The Origins of Halloween

In ancient times, Celtic speaking countries  many had pagan (Middle English, from late Latin 'paganus' country dweller)  roots and belief system that marked the end of the harvest time and the beginning of winter. The festival known at Samhain (pronounced 'sah-win') was the time where they would honor their ancestors, have a great feast, dance, play games, and give offerings from the last of the harvests to their goddesses and gods. They would hollow out turnips, pumpkins or what ever they could carve a face on in hopes that the eerie face would ward of an evil that may be lurking near. This was considered the best time to contact the dead. The celebration would be an all day event, and by the night fall, candles were lit and rituals preformed to help honor the memory of their loved ones that had passed during the year and those before. 

It was not until 609 AD that the celebration of All Saints Day was moved to November 1st from May 13th  by Pope Gregory IV. Scholars believe that he moved the day to help counter the pagan festival. There would be a Mass that would honor the saints who did not have their own day, so that all that were considered 'hallowed' (regarded as holy; venerated; sacred) would be honored. The day before became known as All Hallows Eve. During this time, it was felt by many Christians the pagan festival was bringing forth evil spirits, and the devil. It is thought that in the 12th century,  people would put on masks and costumes so that they would not be spirited away or influenced by the dead. They hope it would conceal their identity long enough till midnight, where they felt the dangers were over and unmask themselves to prove that they were truly one of the living.

By the time the twentieth century was in full bloom both celebrations were practiced, but mostly by the Irish and Scottish immigrant communities. People were dressing in costumes, wearing masks, carving pumpkins, holding dances, going to church, and still honoring the dead.

From Samhain, to All Hallows Eve, to Halloween, started with pagan roots, re-routed by Christians, and then settled into the holiday of Halloween as we know it today. This Halloween many of all ages will dress up in costume and either trick or treat, go to parties, go to a harvest festival put on by a local church, or participates at a haunted house or maze. There are some that just stay at home and hand out candy to the trick or treaters perhaps while watching a scary movie.

Halloween has also been the theme for movies over the years. The theme varies from the gruesome to the light at heart. Many take the Halloween traditions to the extreme, and some follow the traditions of both Samhain. Very few follow the theme of All Saints Day.

Movies for the adults:


The Houses October Built

House of 1000 Corpses

Trick r' Treat

                  Some movies are for the young at heart or just for kids:

                                                 Nightmare Before Christmas

                                                 Halloween Town

                                                 The Halloween Tree

                                                  Hocus Pocus

Even television stations have Halloween specials or Halloween themed shows. 

So who is right and who is wrong? Nobody.

It is up for the individual to decide what they believe about Halloween. There is only one question left to ask: What will you be doing this O' Hallow's Eve?

For more information about Halloween and its traditions feel free to visit these sites.

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