Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween...more alive than dead!

It was once my favorite holiday. It was like being an extemely old person; it was the one day I could probably get away with anything and/or do anything odd without being overly noticed. Alas, we grow older and mature. But in the before time....ah what a day.

The origin of Halloween
The origin of Halloween dates back to the Celtic festival of fire, Samhain ( pronounced sow-in ). The Celts celebrated their New Year on the 1st of November. This day marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. They believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the spirits of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, the Druids built huge sacred bonfires, to give strength to the sun and to scare away any mischievous spirits. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. In the seventh century, as Christianity spread in to Britain, the Catholic church  designated the 1st day of November as All Saints' Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs. The church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was called All-hallows or All-hallowmas ( from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day ) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. In the eleventh century, the church made the 2nd November All Souls' Day, a day to honour the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Halloween Superstitions
If you caught a snail on Halloween night and locked it into a flat dish by morning you would see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail’s slime.
Many people believed that owls would swoop down to eat the souls of the dying.
A superstition stemming from African beliefs is no talking at the dinner table, no one could speak, not even a whisper, and it was believed that the silence would encourage spirits to come to the table.
If a candle flame suddenly turns blue there is a ghost nearby.
If you ring a bell on Halloween it will scare evil spirits away.
If you see a spider on Halloween it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.
You should walk around your house three times backwards and counter clockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits.
A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits.
To prevent ghosts from coming into the house on Halloween bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.
If a bat flies around a house three times it is a death omen.


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