Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.

But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en),

The Gauls claim all to be descended from Father Dis [a god of death, darkness and the underworld], declaring that this is the tradition preserved by the Druids. For this reason they measure periods of time not by days but by nights; and in celebrating birthdays, the first of the month, and new year’s day, they go on the principle that the day begins at night.

Some other names are also associated with the Celtic New Year:
The Third Harvest
All Hollows Eve
The Day of the Dead

And the famous Halloweens Day.

The Celtic Druids eventually came to be viewed as witches, and the subsequent witch craze led to the horrific murders of vast numbers of women, men, and animals, particularly nocturnal animals, with cats most frequently targeted. It was believed that witches could shapeshift, and that they would most often take the form of cats, which were believed to be their familiars. In some cases cats were thought to be reincarnated witches as well.

The widespread slaughter of cats during this time contributed to the human death toll from the black plague, as cats had kept the population of rats that carried plague-bearing fleas under control.
Okay what about all those good treats?

The tradition of trick-or-treating dates back to the early All Soul’s Day in England, during which 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

I love Halloween. The costumes, the candy, the parties, and the memories. Thinking back I don't know which I enjoyed more: the costumes or the trick-or-treats.

I'm still a kid at heart. The lure of the spooky whether I am doing the monster mash or drinking Bloody Mary's with the undead.

Have a very scary Halloween

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