It happens every year about this time – HALLOWEEN – ghosts, goblins, candy, school parties, adult parties, tricks, treats . . . and everything in between. You’ve been celebrating this holiday for so long you may not even know why or what it’s about.
Get your jack-o-lantern lit and keep it by your side. We’re about to bring the “spirits” from their resting places to fill you in on what you don’t (and might not want to) know. If you “feel” something around you, F-E-A-R not – it’s just the spirit of “someone” comforting you while you learn what this “Hallows Eve” is all about . . .
“Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but it got moved to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread . . .
The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.”
The abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.
So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So . . . it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.
But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.
More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality.
We know these representations as the “danse macabre”, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.
But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry . . .
Get the full story here if you dare . . .
Just click the photo . . . ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha . . . are you scared !
stay safe !