Halloween-copy of post from another board-VG

by Ravyn 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • Ravyn

    (We would like to thank Brent Lanford, B.A., M.A. for providing us
    with an objective, secular analysis of this tradition. Additional
    background material was supplied by Lord Egan, High Priest of the
    First Church of Satan)

    Halloween, holiday observed on the evening of October 31 in most
    areas of North America and in some areas of Western Europe. The
    holiday is symbolically associated with death and the supernatural.
    Halloween falls on the eve of All Saints' Day, also known as
    Allhallows or Hallowmas, a holy day in the Roman Catholic and
    Anglican churches. Originally a pagan festival of the dead, All
    Saints' Day was established by the Catholic Church in the 9th century
    to honor Christian saints. All Souls' Day, a holy day established by
    the Catholic Church in the 10th century, is also closely linked to
    Halloween. All Souls' Day, on November 2, is observed to help purify
    the spirits of the dead.

    Halloween is historically related to similar folk holidays celebrated
    in other countries. The Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that
    coincides with All Souls' Day, blends Roman Catholic and Native
    American traditions about the souls of the dead. On the Day of the
    Dead, Mexicans decorate their homes with playful imagery of animated
    human skeletons, leave offerings of food for wandering spirits, and
    tend the graves of their deceased relatives. In England, Guy Fawkes'
    Day, celebrated on November 5, has largely taken the place of
    Halloween. On this patriotic holiday, children light bonfires
    (derived from "bone fires") and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, a
    conspirator who tried to blow up the English Parliament building in

    Most Halloween festivities are based on folk beliefs concerning
    supernatural forces and spirits of the dead. Halloween decorations
    typically feature imagery associated with supernatural beings such as
    witches, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. Images thought to
    symbolize bad omens - such as black cats, bats, and spiders - are
    also commonly featured in Halloween decorations.

    The most celebrated Halloween decoration is the jack-o'-lantern,
    traditionally a hollowed-out pumpkin carved to resemble a grotesque
    face and illuminated by a candle placed inside. The jack-o'-lantern
    derives its name from a character in British folktales. According to
    these tales, the soul of a deceased person named Jack O'Lantern was
    barred from both heaven and hell and was condemned to wander the
    earth with his lantern. Orange and black, colors associated with
    pumpkins and darkness respectively, figure prominently in most
    Halloween decorations.

    Dressing in costume is one of the most popular Halloween customs,
    especially among children. Traditional costumes usually represent
    witches, ghosts, and other supernatural beings. However, costumes
    inspired by contemporary popular culture, such as politicians or
    movie characters, have become increasingly common in the United
    States. Adults often favor costumes with satirical or humorous
    overtones. Trick-or-treating is another Halloween tradition, in which
    costumed children go from house to house soliciting candy or other
    treats from their neighbors. According to this custom, children greet
    each homeowner with the cry "Trick or Treat," suggesting that some
    sort of prank will be played unless treats are provided. Formerly,
    trick-or-treaters vandalized the house if no treats were produced or
    if the treats met with their disapproval. Since the early 20th
    century, however, the threat of tricks has been largely ceremonial.
    Beginning in the 1970s, the practice of trick-or-treating went into a
    sharp decline after unsubstantiated rumors spread about homeowners
    distributing poisoned Halloween candy to children. Many parents also
    became concerned about their children wandering through the
    neighborhood after dark. Today, many parents accompany children when
    they go trick-or-treating.

    In some areas of the country, costume parties have replaced trick-or-
    treating as the favored form of Halloween entertainment. Hosts of
    these parties often hold contests to select the best costume among
    the guests. Traditional Halloween diversions have also enjoyed
    renewed popularity as party activities. For example, many Halloween
    parties feature contests of bobbing for apples, a centuries-old game
    in which contestants try to retrieve apples floating in a tub of
    water using only their mouth. While children's Halloween parties are
    generally held in private homes, many bars and nightclubs sponsor
    modified versions of such festivities for adults.

    Many of the ancient peoples of Europe marked the end of the harvest
    season and the beginning of winter by celebrating a holiday in late
    autumn. The most important of these holidays to influence later
    Halloween customs was Samhain (pronounced "sow-" as in female pig, "-
    en" with the neutral vowel sound), a holiday observed by the ancient
    Celts, a tribal people who inhabited most of Western and Central
    Europe in the first millennium BC. Among the Celts, Samhain marked
    the end of one year and the beginning of the next. It was one of four
    Celtic holidays linked to important transitions in the annual cycle
    of seasons. Samhain, Oimelc, Beltane and Lughnasadh appear on the
    eves of the following calendar days; November 1st, February 1st, May
    1st and August 1st, respectively.

    Samhain began at sundown on October 31 and extended into November 2.
    According to the Celtic pagan religion, known as Druidism, the
    spirits of those who had died in the preceding year roamed the earth
    on Samhain evening. The Celts sought to ward off these spirits with
    offerings of food and drink. The Celts also built bonfires at sacred
    hilltop sites and performed rituals, often involving human and animal
    sacrifices, to honor Druid deities. They would strike a man who had
    been consecrated for sacrifice in the back with a sword, and make
    prophecies based on his death-spasms. Other kinds of human sacrifices
    have been reported as well: some men they would shoot dead with
    arrows and impale in the temples; or they would construct a wicker
    man (huge figure of straw and wood), and having thrown cattle and all
    manner of wild animals and humans into it, they would make a burnt
    offering of the whole thing. For three days, chaos would reign. Men
    would dress as women and women as men. Farmers' gates were unhinged
    and left in ditches, peoples' horses were moved to different fields,
    and children would knock on neighbors' doors for food and treats.

    By the end of the 1st century AD, the Roman Empire had conquered most
    of the Celtic lands (see Rome, History of). In the process of
    incorporating the Celts into their empire, the Romans adapted and
    absorbed some Celtic traditions as part of their own pagan and
    Catholic religious observances. In Britain, Romans blended local
    Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival honoring
    Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Some scholars have suggested that the
    game of bobbing for apples derives from this Roman association of the
    holiday with fruit.

    Pure Celtic influences lingered longer on the western fringes of
    Europe, especially in areas that were never brought firmly under
    Roman control, such as Ireland, Scotland, and the Brittany region of
    northwestern France. In these areas, Samhain was abandoned only when
    the local people converted to Christianity during the early Middle
    Ages, a period that lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. The
    Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older
    religious traditions in order to win converts. For example, Pope
    Gregory IV sought to replace Samhain with All Saints' Day in 835. All
    Souls' Day, closer in spirit to Samhain and modern Halloween, was
    first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread
    throughout Europe. Folk observances linked to these Christian
    holidays, including Halloween, thus preserved many of the ancient
    Celtic customs associated with Samhain.

    Halloween traditions thought to be incompatible with Christianity
    often became linked with Christian folk beliefs about evil spirits.
    Although such superstitions varied a great deal from place to place,
    many of the supernatural beings now associated with Halloween became
    fixed in the popular imagination during the late Middle Ages and the
    Renaissance (14th to 17th century). In British folklore, small
    magical beings known as fairies became associated with Halloween
    mischief. The jack-o'-lantern, originally carved from a large turnip
    rather than a pumpkin, originated in medieval Scotland. Various
    methods of predicting the future, especially concerning matters of
    romance and marriage, were also prominent features of Halloween
    throughout the British Isles.

    Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Europe was seized by a
    hysterical fear of witches, leading to the persecution of thousands
    of innocent women. Witches were thought to ride flying brooms and to
    assume the form of black cats. These images of witches soon joined
    other European superstitions as symbols of Halloween.

    Attitudes toward Halloween varied widely among the various European
    groups that settled in North America. New England was initially
    settled by English Puritans, members of a strict Protestant sect that
    rejected Halloween as a Catholic and pagan holiday (see Puritanism).
    However, other British colonists successfully transplanted Halloween
    traditions in southern colonies such as Virginia and Maryland. Irish
    immigrants helped popularize Halloween traditions throughout the
    United States in the mid-19th century. As belief in many of the old
    superstitions waned during the late 19th century, Halloween was
    increasingly regarded as a children's holiday.

    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, young people often observed
    Halloween by perpetrating minor acts of vandalism, such as
    overturning sheds or breaking windows. Beginning in the 1930s
    Halloween mischief gradually transformed into the modern ritual of
    trick-or-treating. Eventually, Halloween treats were plentiful while
    tricks became rare. Nonetheless, the tradition of Halloween pranks
    still survives. In some areas, October 30 (one day before Halloween)
    is called Mischief Night, and vandalism often reaches dangerous
    levels. In Detroit, Michigan, Mischief Nightknown there as Devil's
    Nightprovided the occasion for waves of arson that sometimes
    destroyed whole city blocks during the 1970s and 1980s.

    Since the 1970s, Halloween celebrations have become increasingly
    popular among adults. The Halloween parade in the Greenwich Village
    neighborhood of New York City features elaborate satirical costumes
    and drunken revelry. Especially popular among the local gay
    population, the Greenwich Village parade serves as a model for many
    other adult Halloween celebrations around the country. Similarly
    boisterous public Halloween festivities are celebrated in San
    Francisco, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Key West, Florida.

  • Sirona

    Thanks for posting that. However, I'd like to point out the following:

    "Theres a distinct lack of historical or archeological evidence that the ancient Druids ever sacrificed anyone other than criminals, prisoners-of-war, or volunteers if them. The human sacrifices called missions, inquisitions, crusades, and pograms, however, have killed innocent men, women and children by the millions and this is very well documented by mainstream historians."

    Taken from Halloween Errors and Lies at http://www.neopagan.net/Halloween-Lies.html

    See also http://www.neopagan.net/Halloween-Origins.html for an essay on the real origins of Halloween.


  • Ravyn

    It has always been my opinion that a 'sacrifice' was not a sacrifice if the person so designated was not WILLING. Otherwise it was murder. How can anyone 'sacrifice' something they don't have possession of? And no one possesses another human life...so the only sacrifice in my opinion is one you do yourself or one that is willingly done on your behalf by someone else.

    I have no problem believing this was done though. Only today do we have such a fear of death and dying that it is distasteful to most.

    I can easily see how a prisoner, or criminal might choose to 'fix' his 'karma' by offering himself as a sacrifice. Certainly if I thought I had screwed up totally and my next incarnation depended on it, and I had no other way to make ammends I would do so and welcome the opportunity.



    MAMIE kitty has her B/D bash on HAPPY HALLOWEEN DAY. QUEENIE

  • LovesDubs

    I keep my kitty in the HOUSE that day....shes allll black. Happy Birfday Mamie Kitty!

  • nancee park
    nancee park

    CHRISTIAN, NOT PAGAN, ORIGINS FOR HALLOWEEN: Halloween came from All Hallows (Holy Ones/Saints) Evening when parents had children dress as saints to encourage them to be good, the normally harmless pranks coming from Ireland where perhaps taken from pagans even as also are wedding rings, names of days, months, some Christian names in the Bible like Apollos and Jason. Why does the Watchtower Society over Jehovah's Witnesses call holidays "compromises" since such holidays attacked and replaced paganisms, especially since Colossians 2:16 says let none judge you about a holiday or Sabbaths? Sure some now wear costumes of beings even devils we would not want ourselves or our children to be like and so this holiday is rightly still a matter of conscience for each of us just as Romans 14:6 also says, something Watchtower doesn't care for.

  • Sirona

    As someone said on the other halloween thread, nancee, Halloweens ORIGINS are Pagan, not Christian. Christians have changed aspects of it to suit themselves and chose to have an All Saints thing on the next day. Doesn't mean its a christian holiday in its origin though,


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