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Halloween and other traditions
on 28/10/00 16:17, GDSinclair@aol.com at GDSinclair@aol.com wrote:
> With Halloween a few days away, I saw this article and though it interesting
> enough to send along.
> Like Christmas and Easter, the original reason for the Halloween season was
> religious. Halloween's roots are firmly planted in Ireland, where the Celts
> celebrated Samhain, a New year's festival that marked the onset of winter.
> There are a lot of myths about the Celts and the festival including one that
> claims that Samhain was a ceremony to honor Saman, Lord of the Dead. But many
> researchers believe that as Christianity spread, the fable was invented to
> discredit Druidism. During the Samhain celebration household fires were
> extinguished and then relighted from a single bonfire kindled by a Druid
> priest. The bonfire paid homage to the sun.
> The Celts believed that on this night, the laws of reality were a bit fuzzy,
> allowing the mortal world and the spirit world to commingle. All the spirits
> that had passed on would gather that night to find a new body to inhabit. To
> keep the spirits from regaining life and to send them on their journey to the
> afterlife, people dressed as witches and goblins in order to appear
> unappealing to roving ghosts and to frighten them away.
> Halloween also has a bit of Christianity in it, as well. Medieval church
> leaders once honored departed saints with a feast day in May. But in A.D.
> 834, Pope Gregory III designated Nov 1, a pagan holiday, as a feast day for
> all Christian saints called All Hallow's Day, also known as All Saints Day
> Somewhere along the cultural evolutionary road, Sanhain sort of merged with
> All Saint's Day to form Halloween, which is actually Hallow's e'en (All
> Saints Day Eve). There's no doubt that Halloween came to this country through
> Irish immigrants in the 1800's, but there's some debate on where the
> trick-or-treat tradition originated.
> Those fun-loving Celts would go around in disguise, seeking contributions in
> the name of Muck Olla. Those who weren't generous raced the wrath of the
> Druid bogey-man. While several cultures have trick-or-treat customs, it's
> widely held that our modem version goes back to 9th Century Europe and the
> practice called "souling."
> Christians walked from village to village begging for soul cakes, a sort of
> square biscuit with currents. Those asking for the cakes promised, in return,
> to pray for the dead relatives of the givers. If a soul was caught in limbo,
> a large number of prayers could free it, so the more prayers, the better.
> [ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, firstname.lastname@example.org
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I wish more people would share stories like this simple but fascinaing one:
full of meaning, evocative symbols and historical consequences, and yet
totally out of the past and legendary father-to-son recounted anecdotes...
I beleive that we do have a lot to learn and see from traditions, images
from the past, in-between lines and symbols, even famous gestures like
pointing with the forefinger in a divine direction, or from mysterious
paintings from the Michalaengelos, Poussins and De Vincis of this world. If
we are attentive, I beleive that we can read and learn from those myths,
legends, fables and even poems, such « La Chanson the Roland» and Arthurian
memorable and literal works of art. Just like stone and freemansonry (think
of Rosslyn, Chartres's cathedral and simple chimneys found in the New
World)- our legacy is literally writtten in stone, legends and art and it's
there for us to discover and understand.
Funny isn' then that history is written black on white all over our small
world but we have yet to decode the language.
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