Mäni’s Morsel: Evolution of a Holiday


Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

imageThe Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, which marked the end of summer, the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter; a time of year that was often associated with human death. (how cheerful!)

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 31st, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

By A.D. 43, The Romans had conquered the Celts and over the next four hundred years two festivals of Roman origin were…

combined with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia which commemorated the passing of the dead and the second was to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees, whose symbol was the apple. Which might explain the tradition of "bobbing" for apples.

image The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal that if the devil promised to never tempt him again, he would let him down the tree.

image After Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

image The Irish used turnips as their "Jack’s lanterns" originally. But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

image By the 800’s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands and the Pope designated November 1st All Saints Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. The celebration was called All-Hallows or All-Hallow mas, and the night before began to be called All-Hallows Eve, eventually Halloween.

For more details click on: http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/halloween/

We’re planning a few "tricky" treats for Halloween…log on Friday afternoon for the details, ooh!!!

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