October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Nothing too serious here.  Everyone pretty much knows that Halloween originates from an ancient celtic festival to celebrate the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of the new year.

The dark side is the celts believed "on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred."  Celtic priests, the druids, lit large bonfires and told fortunes, while the people would dress up in animal costumes and burn crops and animals as a sacrifice to their deities.

The light side is that first the Romans and then the Christian Church tried to co-op the celtic festival with festivals of their own.  In the early 7th century Pope Boniface IV, for the first time, converted a Roman temple into a Christian church, consecrating the church to the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs on May 13, 609 A.D. (or perhaps 610 A.D.).  Later in the 8th century Pope Gregory III  consecrated a chapel in Rome to All the Saints, fixing the anniversary for this feast as November 1st.  Pope Gregory IV  proclaimed the November 1st celebration of All Saints as an obligation throughout the empire.  Thus, November 1, All Saints' Day, also known as All-hallowmas, became a festival to honor all the saints and martyrs.  The night before became known as All Hallows' Even, and eventually, 'Halloween.'

Now, what truths can we discern from this short tale? 

O, yuck, why does he have to spoil the story now.  We haven't even it gotten to the fun part of the story about modern costumes, tricks or treats, candy, carved pumpkins, and family funtime with mom, dad and children.

After all, which ones of us do not remember, with childish glee, the piles of candy on the livingroom floor, dumped from our decorated bags and spilling from the pockets of our bluejeans or halloween costumes.  And later, as parents, which ones of us cannot conjure multiple visions of little princesses, cowboys, ballerinas and a host of strangely decorated monsters running and jumping with sheer joy, like a bunch of little mexican jumping beans.

Okay, well, maybe that behavior also constitutes part of the truths now associated with the dates October 31 and November 1.  Ponder it.  Maybe in one of the classic Yoga positions.  But let's discuss all this later.

Have a Happy Halloween, ya'll.

 * * *

Credits -
       Wikipedia, article entitled Halloween
       History.com, article entitled Halloween, Ancient Origins
       New Advent, article entitled Pope St. Boniface IV
       New Advent, article entitled Pope St. Gregory III
       New Advent, article entitled Pope Gregory IV
       New Advent, article entitled All Saints' Day
       New Advent, article entitled Obligation
       About.com, article entitled An Index of Yoga Positions


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