Lab #2: The Original History of Halloween The requirements for the assignment are:1. Read the article carefully2. Summarize the article but don’t just copy it. Summaries have no quotations and they are key points from the author in 3rd3. Write between 1 ½ – 2 pages in MLA style. Be sure to give your summary a title4. Upload your summary to Canvas.
Lab #2: The Original History of Halloween The requirements for the assignment are: 1. Read the article carefully 2. Summarize the article but don’t just copy it. Summaries have no quotations an
Wilson, Charles. “Halloween: Goblins and Spooks and Vampires, Oh My.” A Journal of Folkore, Myth, and Legend, vol. 81, No. 7, 2001, pp. 76-81. Folk and Fairy Tales. HALLOWEEN Halloween is considered by most in the United States as a fun holiday, mostly for children, but it has roots in ancient religions and folklore, including paganism, ancient Roman religions, early Catholic Christianity, Irish folklore, and even British politics! Children and adults alike enjoy this holiday today, with funny costumes, candy, and parties, while some countries observe this time as a remembrance of departed loved ones and religious saints. Here is a short history of this holiday: History Halloween is a holiday with ancient roots that had a much greater meaning than the boisterous, costume-filled holiday that we know today. Around 2,000 years ago, the Celts, who lived in what is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northern France, had a festival commemorating the end of the year. Their New Year was November 1, and this festival was called Samhain, pronounced sow-en. The end of their year signaled the end of summer, the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of a long, hard winter that often caused many deaths of animals and people. Weaker livestock were often killed and eaten during this holiday, since most likely, they would not survive the winter anyway. Because of this, and the cruel winter to come, this time of year signified death to the Pagan Celtics. They believed the night before the New Year that the wall between the living and the dead was open, allowing spirits of the dead, both good and bad, to mingle among the living. Some of these spirits were thought to possess living people, cause trouble, ruin crops, or to search for passage to the afterlife. Samhain was considered a magical holiday, and there are many stories about what the Celtics practiced and believed during this festival. Some say the spirits that were unleashed were those that had died in that year, and offerings of food and drink were left to aid the spirits, or to ward them away. Other versions say the Celts dressed up in outlandish costumes and roamed the neighborhoods making noise to scare the spirits away. Many thought they could predict the future and communicate with spirits as well during this time. Some think the heavily structured life of the Pagan Celtics was abandoned during Samhain, and people did unusual things, such as moving horses to different fields, moving gates and fences, women dressing as men, and vice versa, and other trickeries now associated with Halloween. Another belief is that the Celtics honored, celebrated, and feasted the dead during Samhain. A sacred, central bonfire was always lit to honor the Pagan gods, and some accounts say that individual home fires were extinguished during Samhain, either to make their homes unattractive to roving spirits, or for their home fires to be lit following the festival from the sacred bonfire. Fortunes were told, and marked stones thrown into the fire. If a person’s stone was not found after the bonfire went out, it was believed that person would die during the next year. Some Celts wore costumes of animal skulls and skins during Samhain. Faeries were believed to roam the land during Samhain, dressed as beggars asking for food door to door. Those that gave food to the faeries were rewarded, while those that did not were punished by the faeries. This is reported to be the first origin of the modern “trick or treat” practice. In the First century A.D., the Roman Empire had taken over most of the Celtic lands. The Romans had two festivals also celebrated at the same time of year as Samhain. One was Feralia, also in late October, was the Roman day honouring the dead. The second festival was for Pomona, the Roman goddess of trees and fruit. Pomona’s symbol was the apple. These two festivals were combined with Samhain in the Celtic lands during the four hundred years the Roman Empire ruled over the Celts. The goddess Pomona’s apple might be the root of the Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples. Over the next several hundred years, Christianity had spread to include the lands inhabited by the Celtics and the Romans, but the festival of Samhain was still celebrated by the people. The Christian church reportedly did not like a festival with Pagan roots practiced by Christians, so a replacement was needed. Pope Boniface IV designated May 13 as All Saints Day to honor dead church saints and martyrs. Samhain continued to be celebrated, so in 835 A.D., Pope Gregory IV moved the holiday to November 1, probably to take attention away from the Pagan Samhain festival and replace it. Since All Saints Day was sanctioned by the church, and related to the dead, the church was happy, but many Pagan traditions of Samhain continued to be practiced, including bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costume. All Saints Day was also known as All Hallows, or All Hallowmas (Hallowmas is Old English for All Saints Day). Since Samhain was celebrated the night before November 1, the celebration was known as All Hallows Eve, and later called Halloween. In the year 1000 A.D., the church designated November 2 as All Souls Day, to honor the dead who were not saints, and they eventually became combined and celebrated as Hallowmas. On All Souls Day in England, the poor would “go a-souling”. They would go door to door asking for food, and in return, would pray for the souls of their dead relatives. It was widely believed at the time that the souls of the dead would await passage into heaven until enough people prayed for their souls. The Christian church encouraged this practice to replace the old Pagan tradition of leaving cakes and wine out for the spirits of the dead. The poor would be given “soul cakes”, which were pastries made for those who promised to pray for their dead relatives. In some cultures, soul cakes would be given in exchange for a performance or song as well. Children eventually adopted this practice, and were given food, ale, or money.
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