Sunday, 25 October 2009

History of Halloween.

In pre-Roman times an ancient people lived in the North of Europe
– the Celts.

They were farmers and they raised cattle.

By the end of Summer, they came down from the high mountains with the cattle and they started harvesting to prepare for long, cold and hard times of Winter.

Their calender was quite different from the calender we use nowadays.

The Celtic calendar was divided in two halves; one, the dark half, starting in October / November and, the light half beginning in April/May lunation. The end of the year was in October, 31st. Samhain is the name for the month of November. and Samhain seems to be also a kind of god for those ancient people So, in the end of Summer time there was plenty of food and they had parties to thank their gods for the good times.

The Celts believed in magic places and moments – when something ends and another thing begins, that was a magic place, or a magic time. When land finishes and the sea begins, when day ends and night starts, those were special and magic places or times for them.
When an old year passes by and a new year starts it was a very special and magic moment.

Why were they magic?

Because the Celts believed that in those moments, the veil that separates the dead people from the ones who are alive became extremely weak, so communication between the two worlds was possible.
When the Roman Catholic Church tried to stop those ancient pagan traditions they decided to join this celebration of harvest and Samhein with the Christian worship of dead, in the day before the day of All Saints.

This way both cultures began to mix, so, nowadays we celebrate Halloween, all hallows ( saints ) eve.
Nowadays there are many traditions, but the most popular is probably the cute Jack-o-lantern.
The legend says that Jack had a deal with the devil – he didn’t want to go to the Hell and the devil accepted, but Jack had to do always what the devil told. And so it was for many years. When Jack died he didn’t go to Hell, because that was the deal, but he had been so bad that he couldn’t go to Heaven,
So, Jack stayed in Earth wandering around for ever; it is said that to see his way at night he had a turnip, with a hole to put a candle. Later, the turnip turned out to be these lovely pumpkins, known as Jack-o-lantern.

Children usually carve big pumpkins to decorate the houses and at night they go out to play trick or treat and get some candies.

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