Halloween: Origin and History | Jesus

There it developed dynamically and underwent many transformations until it returned to Europe as an American custom.

The origins of Halloween are said to go back to the pagan Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on November 1st. Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s festival, marked the beginning of winter and was also a kind of harvest festival.

Fire on hills

The festival is said to have been marked by huge bonfires lit on the hills to drive away evil spirits: its natural properties for purification and destruction, for warmth and light, have always inspired people to use the element of fire symbolically.

According to James Frazer, in ancient Ireland a new fire was lit every year on Halloween or the eve of Samhain, and from this sacred flame all the fires in Ireland were rekindled. Such a custom strongly suggests that Samhain or All Saints Day was New Year’s Day.

In the British Isles, such fires have been documented since the 18th century. In Ireland, fires are lit in public places in towns and villages, mostly by older children. Halloween fires are also widespread in Scotland.

Pagan death cult?

Samhain is said to a pagan Celtic festival of the dead, as can be seen from Anglo-American literature and the overwhelming flood of information on the Internet. On this day of transition into a new year, the world of the gods became visible: As old Irish legends tell, on the night before the festival, the gates of the other world were said to be open, through which spirit beings and the souls of the deceased could enter the human world. It was the time when supernatural forces such as ghosts, witches and demons had to be appeased.

EIt was not until the 9th century that Samhain was gradually transformed into All Saints Day – presumably to suppress the pagan character of the holiday… The old ideas and customs associated with Samhain continued to exist even after the «ChristianThe “transformation” of the festival continued, especially in Ireland. In some areas of Ireland, food and drink gifts were said to have been placed in front of the door on Halloween until the 19th century. Over time, the ideas changed more and more.

Instead of the gates to the “other world”, the gates of hell were now open on Halloween night and demons, witches and other devilish creatures were out and about, causing mischief. The pagan Celtic cult of the dead is said to have been overshadowed by the Christian All Saints’ Day festival. And: pagan Celtic ideas and customs live on in a “Christianized form”.

Confronted with death and death consciousness

Since ancient times, people have commemorated the deceased on All Souls’ Day and the preceding All Saints’ Day. Since the second century AD there is evidence that prayers for the deceased are to be associated with certain days, for example the anniversary of the funeral.

Later, the monasteries dedicated a special day to the memory of the deceased members of their religious order, before Abbot Odilo of Cluny declared November 2nd as the festive commemoration of all deceased believers in the monasteries under his control in 998. All Souls’ Day quickly spread throughout the West. It confronted believers with death and the awareness of death.

No connection with All Saints Day

Halloween or Hallowe’en is the short form of the English term All Hallows Eve; from eve / evening («eve») and hallow («saint») to describe the evening before All Saints Day. However, this term has nothing to do with the Christian commemoration cult of All Saints Day / All Souls Day, let alone with a pagan festival of the dead. The evidence for the Irish calendar customs on Halloween only goes back two or three centuries, the Halloween fires are as the sources expressly emphasize not in connection with the church festival of All Saints Day.

As early as the 4th century, Christians in the Orient celebrated a festival in memory of their martyrs. In 835, Pope Gregory IV decreed the festival for the entire Church and moved it to November 1st. This was done, among other things, with consideration for the wishes of pilgrims to Rome, as can be seen from relevant lexical accounts.

«Jack o’Lantern» is behind pumpkin lanterns

Halloween comes from the custom of remembering deceased saints on All Saints Day. Halloween is the Irish version of All Saints Day, because it was originally used to remember a particularly unholy person, namely the drunkard Jack o’Lantern, who was spared from hell because of a bet, but who still did not go to heaven. Jack o’Lantern had to wander in the dark between hell and heaven with a hollowed-out turnip.

The legend of Jack o’Lantern creates a bridge between All Saints Day and the widespread folk custom of using hollowed-out turnips and pumpkins as lanterns in the autumn. Originally, Halloween (the popular Irish version of All Saints Day) was a festival where people made fun of death with a kind of pub joke.

Why trick or treat for children?

In the United States, during the course of the 20th century, processions of masked children appeared on Halloween, going from house to house demanding gifts. Jack Santino sees the origin of this Halloween begging custom in pagan beliefs that the living must provide gifts for wandering spirits. In doing so, he draws bold traditions from the ancient Irish legends of the 9th to 12th centuries to the American 20th century.

Collecting gifts is a characteristic custom, particularly practiced by children and young people, and is associated with a number of festive dates. Just think of New Year’s Day, Epiphany, Carnival, Easter or St. Martin’s Day. Begging is undertaken, for example, as payment for certain services, as a begging trip or as a social and charitable act. Begging customs are also common on All Saints’ Day up to the present day.

«God bless the poor souls»

According to popular Catholic religious beliefs, the suffering of the poor souls in purgatory, who are especially remembered on All Souls’ Day, can also be shortened by active acts of charity. This includes giving alms to the poor and needy, gifts from godparents or begging for children. It was customary to give beggars plenty of bread for the winter months on All Souls’ Day; children were allowed to collect apples and nuts. In East Tyrol, for example, the custom of children going from house to house on All Saints’ Day and collecting doughnuts, sweets or money is reminiscent of the once rich customs to comfort the poor souls; they thank them with a “God bless them for the poor souls”.

In the English regions of Cheshire and Shropshire, the poorer population used to go on a begging procession on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, begging for “soul cakes”; in return, they had to say prayers for the souls of the deceased. In Ireland, it is said to have been customary to give children apples or nuts.

Occultists are increasingly adopting Halloween

Nothing of this message remains today. And that leads to the second statement: today we celebrate Halloween at best as a silly horror festival that somehow fits the season.

What is worrying, however, is that occultists are increasingly taking over this festival and thus reinterpreting it in a truly dangerous direction.

On the subject:
Halloween Dossier
Former witch warns: Be careful before Halloween!
Former voodoo priest: Why I warn against Halloween today
Former Wiccan witch: «Halloween is not as harmless as it seems

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