Monthly Gem: All Hallows’ Eve

Me, at the start of the “Corn Maze” (Halloween Day 2009)

Halloween (a colloquial shortening of All Hallows’ Eve) is traditionally celebrated on October 31st and refers to the day before All Saints’ Day (November 1st) in the same way that Christmas Eve refers to the day before Christmas.  All Saints’ Day is a celebratory feast honoring all the saints (Christian and Catholic alike). The concept of “saints” differs across denomination, but whatever the belief system, the saints are celebrated on November 1st.

Pumpkin Patch (Halloween Day 2009)

Halloween grew out of this Christian/Catholic tradition, but by contrast was set aside to acknowledge and honor the dead, including saints (Hallows), martyrs and departed believers.  Conversely, some believe that Halloween originated as a Celtic harvest festival, which was pagan in nature.  No matter which historical account one supports, the majority of Halloween celebrations consist of using “humor and ridicule to confront the power of death.”

Even today, the typical Halloween or Harvest Festival/Octoberfest celebration (as some churches have come to refer to them as) include some form of “trick-or-treating”, costuming, pumpkins-carving and general tomfoolery (pranks, scary stories, “haunted houses”, etc.)

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