Dear Readers – A night of revelry is approaching. A night where we become our deepest fears and desires. Behind masks, we indulge in open opposition of what is normal or holy. The origins of this holiday date back to the ancient Celts, who lived throughout the British Isles in modern-day Ireland and northern France over 2,000 years ago. These people celebrated the festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), midway between the beginning of autumn and the longest night of the year. On this eve, it was believed that time and space itself was amorphous, and that the membrane between this world and the next was permeable. Christian leaders slowly colored over this pagan festival with All Saints and All Souls’ Day held on the 1st and 2nd of November. These holy days were referred to as Alholowmesse in Middle English. Eventually October 31 became All Hallow’s Eve, and today is our Halloween.
“From Pagan, to Christian, to Party.” On the podcast The History of Witchcraft, Samuel Hume discusses the ancient Celtic origins of Halloween, the rise of mob mischief, how carved turnips became jack-o-lanterns, and the eventual conversion of Halloween into a children’s holiday. // iTunes link ‘018 – Halloween – From Pagan, to Christian, to Party’ (49 minutes)
“Halloween comes to America.” The former History Channel by A&E Television Networks gives a nice history of Halloween from its ancient origins to our modern-day orange-themed sugar festival. You can view through the attached abridgment that I compiled, or using this link – which as a warning, is so laden with advertising that my browser nearly crashed.
Easter, Christmas and Halloween. Frank Dunkle and David Cobb from the United Church of God take a look at popular Christian holidays from the historical lens of pagan belief. They ask the controversial question, should Christians be participating in these holidays?