Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the most fabulous time of year!


Woo Hoo!

Time to let your imagination run WILD!!!

In perfect All Hallow's Eve fashion - I awoke to a gloomy, rainy, chilly morning. Most impressively - close to 100 black birds were scattered all over the lawn. *evil laugh inserted here*

How magnificent is that?

Now for more important items - what am I going to be for Halloween? AHHH.. the decision has been made. Unfortunately my costume will not be as elaborate as it normally is. (Recession and all.) But I am so happy that I save costumes. So, yes - in a budgetary fashion I am resurrecting an oldy but goody - the Devil Diva. LOL. I thought it would be fairly easy, just less makeup items to go with it. Plus, I lost my pitch fork through out the years.

This will be the Egyptian's first Halloween. I have to make it special. I wanted to carve a pumpkin - but we live in an apartment and I only have a small stoop. Perhaps we will skip this creative venture and try again next year. Plus - by then, we will be in a different situation and it will make all the more exciting.

I had the most fascinating conversation with a really sweet girl yesterday. We were chatting it up about Halloween - what our plans were - what were we dressing as. Then she piped in - "But, I mean.. I know it has it's roots in Satanic worship and all.." I tried really hard not to berate her there. Sometimes you just can't educate people.

Just to clarify - I am catholic. (yes - that's Christian.) I am a very strong believer. I am also educated enough to do my research yearssss ago.

Let me fill you in on where Halloween or All Hallow's Eve traditions came from. It's really quite interesting. First of all, for my Egyptian family & friends - Halloween is always celebrated on October 31st. It's roots come from the Celtic festival called Samhain and the Christian holy day known as All Saints. (Which is tomorrow - and is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics.) The colours black and orange have become associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the color of fire or of pumpkins. Another association is with the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the celtic festival of Samhain or Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)", which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". A similar festival was held by the ancient Britonsand is known as Calan Gaeaf(pronounced kalan-geyf).

The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows' Even – e'en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening. This is ultimately derived from the Old English Eallra Hālgena ǣfen. It is now known as "Eve of" All Saints' Day, which is November 1st.
A time of pagan festivities, Popes Gregory III (731–741) and Gregory IV (827–844) tried to supplant it with the Christian holiday (All Saints' Day) by moving it from May 13 to November 1.
In the 800s, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were once celebrated on the same day.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Ireland and Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of show, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, in order to earn their treats.

Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. They are said to be used to scare off demons. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows, movies, and other pop culture icons.

In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints’ Day, while some other Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day to remember the Protestant Reformation.

Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating "imaginary spooks" and handing out candy.

Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection.

Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist in Rome, has said, "If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that."

Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being "satanic" in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality, and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life lesson and a part of many of their parishioners' heritage.

Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday because they believe it trivializes (and celebrates) "the occult" and what they perceive as evil. A response among some fundamentalists in recent years has been the use of Hell houses or themed pamphlets (such as those of Jack T. Chick) which attempt to make use of Halloween as an opportunity for evangelism.

Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith because of its origin as a pagan "Festival of the Dead." In more recent years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has organized a "Saint Fest" on the holiday.

Many contemporary Protestant churches view Halloween as a fun event for children, holding events in their churches where children and their parents can dress up, play games, and get candy. Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Halloween for they believe anything that originated from a pagan holiday should not be celebrated by true Christians.

Religions other than Christianity also have varied views on Halloween. Celtic Pagans consider the season a holy time of year. Celtic Reconstructionists, and others who maintain ancestral customs, make offerings to the Gods and the ancestors.

Some Wiccans feel that the tradition is offensive to "real witches" for promoting stereotypical caricatures of "wicked witches".

In Arab countries where it is celebrated, devotion is given to St. Barbara.

There are so many ways people celebrate this time of the year across the world.
The good news it - it is your right to decide what is good for your family or not.

In my house - we will celebrate All Hallow's Eve... with that, I leave you with -


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