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Arts and Crafts

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Part 1

Most of you probably know where Halloween originated from, but I, being Dutch, didn't really know. It's not a tradition in The Netherlands. Since inquiring minds like to know, I looked it up and found out that it's actually an old Gaelic festival called Samhain.

"The Festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is erroneously regarded as 'The Celtic New Year'. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, where the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.

The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", also which is now known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day."

Halloween was not a holiday until the 19th century and commercialization started in the 20th century, around the 1930's.

Leaves me with one more question: Where did the pumpkin came in and why? I will tell you in part 2, hehe.

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