Google+ Q Dot: It's Halloween! Time for a history lesson.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween! Time for a history lesson.

Ahem. Make sure you go to Watch this before and after you read this bit of Halloween history. =) =)

This might freak some of my church folk out but did you know that modern day Halloween as it’s celebrated in America, actually is a Christian holiday?

It’s true. My theory is that the reason behind a lot of churches distancing itself from Halloween is it’s images and glorification of evil. Which makes perfectly good sense.

The short story, though, is this: For thousands of years, Celtic Pagans and Druids celebrated a day on October 31st called Samhain. Just like our commercialized Halloween, it celebrated harvest time but it also was their calendar new year which marked moving into winter. Harvest time back then was serious business – think about it, if your livelihood depended on good crops and you had none to last you through winter, death was almost a certainty. That, some believe lead to the honoring of the dead. They believed that day the boundaries between our world and the non-physical world were lessened and the dead could come back to haunt on Samhain.

Fast forward to the year to the year 731 A.D. when a very smart Pope Gregory III took the Christian holiday to celebrate martyrs and moved it from May 13th to November 1st and also expanded it to honor all Saints. This was a strategic move as the Christian faith was growing throughout Europe – to ultimately squash the pagan’s faith. In the year 1000 A.D. it was called All Souls Day, to honor all of the dead, very similar to the pagan Samhain holiday. Also in similarity to Samhain, those celebrating had huge bonfires, threw parades and dressed up in costumes.

So how did we get the name Halloween? All Saints Day was loosely referred to in those times as All-Hallows Day and it wasn’t long that in effort to continue to squash Paganism that the Christians moved the day from November 1st to October 31st – thus Hallow’s Eve. Or…Halloween.

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