Wednesday, October 28, 2009

At a loss to think of what you are going to be for Halloween this year?

At a loss to think of what you are going to be for Halloween this year?

Blame it on the Gaels.

Halloween has its origins in the ancient pagan festival known as Samhain practised by the Gaels.
Samhain is a festival celebrating the end of the harvest season. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter their livestock in preparation for winter.

Read more:

Samhain? The festival observed October 31 was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year.

The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld.

People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living.

On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread.

A little Gaelic mythology and religion: Before Christianisation, the religion of the Gaels, as with other Celts, can be described as polytheistic or pagan.

They worshipped a variety of gods and goddesses, which generally have parallels in the pantheons of other Celts.

The Gaels were also animists, believing that all aspects of the natural world contained spirits, and that these spirits could be communicated with.

Gaelic burial practices –which included burying food, weapons, and ornaments with the dead– suggest a belief in life after death.

The Gaels practised four religious festivals a year – Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. These festivals were equidistant from each other, and divided the year into four quarters. Rather than building temples, the Gaels often performed rituals in sacred groves known as nemetons.

I think that with all this information available the opportunity presents itself for me to take a minute and reflect. Do my actions honor God? Not just on Halloween, a holiday with Pagan origins, but daily?

I'm still researching the history of this holiday I think it's fascinating. The legend is, the Gaels were descendants of ADAM and married into PHARAOH'S family.

Aren't you amazed that we costume up on a specific day of the year and take our children out to knock on stranger's doors because of some ancient ritual done 6000 years before the birth of Christ?

God's love for us is evident in the verse below, and because of that love we have a choices to make on a daily basis. Is is constructive, is it edifying?

King James: All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23

New International Version: Everything is permissible--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible--but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23

No matter where or when, God says to be constructive.

I was so happy to stumble across these amazing VEGETABLE Victorian Post Cards.
Take a visit and check out his collection, it is i m p r e s s i v e!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Origins of Halloween

Halloween was so different when I was growing up.

It was a creative fest of handmade cowboys, princesses, fairies and pirates. Not a drop of blood.

Maybe a mummy, maybe a witch. But nothing scary! The cardboard black cat on the bulletin board at school was as scary as it got!

Not that our imaginations were not full of spacemen and martians, we just didn't glorify evil.

Zombies and vampires were years away.

We didn't have the luxury of a lot of disposable money, we just chose things at hand to create with. A sailor costume complete with an uncle's navy hat maybe.

My mom trick or treated with me up and down our own neighborhood sidewalks and we got chocolate bars, pennies, apples. We had a huge carnival with game booths and cakewalks at the school, and I remember getting a Chinese finger puzzle, a live goldfish in a glass bowl and a fortunetelling celluloid goldfish every single year for all the six years (seven counting kindergarten) that I was in grammar school and got to wear my costume to the parade and carnival.

It is certainly a holiday for the candy companies. There are not too many mothers who would set their child out to gather candy by the bucketful at any other time. But at this time of year, you will get tricked if you don't treat.

Do you ever wonder what is this holiday really all about?

Per Wikipedia: "Halloween has origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient Britons and is known as Calan Gaeaf (pronounced kalan-geyf). The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year".

The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off.

It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces"

Hence the tradition of wearing masks and costumes that we still practice even if not for the original reasons.

And that is just the beginning of some of the history of the traditions that we practice now. Click over, good article.


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