Archive for October, 2009
Prior to commercial America’s takeover of the Halloween holiday (i.e. Holy Day), ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ and ‘All Hallow’s Day’ served a holier purpose for pagans and catholics alike. Set aside the Gobstoppers and Snickers for just one minute, and return to the cold, dark coast of Ireland, where this ancient celebration all began in the hands of pagan worshippers.
This holiday, or holy day, dates back to before Jesus Christ, and it all started as a Celtic attempt to thwart off the inevitable arrival of winter, and death of the land. One day a year the farmers of Celtic (and Gaul – France) background believed that the season of life met the season of death. This annual event was marked by the belief in the rising of malevolent spirits from graveyards. The day was called Samhain (saahwin), which meant the summer’s end. With so many spirits in their midst, high ranking civilians would speak with authority to the commoners in foretelling whether or not their village would survive the winter. At the same time, common folk would dress in animal skin disguises and light bonfires in an attempt to confuse and evade the evil spirits.
As time went on, Pope Gregory III, in the 8th c. AD, saw the opportunity to place a feast day on November 1st, honoring all the Saints. Although the liturgical year celebrates many Saints, there are hundreds of others that do not fit in to formal liturgy, hence ‘All Hallows Day’ was born. An example would be the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution in the early 4th century AD. This cleansing of Christians killed so many across the Roman Empire that their martyrdom’s (be a witness) would no longer fit within the liturgical year. Therefore, a joint commemoration emerges.
What must be noted is that Gregory III did not create ‘All Hallows (Saints) Day.’ The Church had celebrated this feast for centuries. Rather he saw it fitting to bump it up from May 13th, to the day of the Celtic Samhain, November 1st. Across Europe, moving ‘All Saints Day’ was of no great concern to those who celebrated Samhain, so long as they could still have their fun. To alleviate that desire for celebration, Samhain cohorts simply moved the day celebration to an eve, or ‘All Hallow’s Eve,’ October 31st. From here the leap to modern day Halloween is quite simple.
However, Halloween America did not come over with our Puritan ancestors, but rather with the potato famine of the 19th century. As the Irish poured into Ellis Island to escape from famine, they brought with them traditions of ‘All Hallows Eve.’ However, bomb fires became jack-o-lanterns, animal skin disguises became costumes, and souling—-when the poor went house to house to pray for the family’s dead in exchange for a small cake—-became trick-or-treating.
So next time a goblin or vampire questions the roots of All Hallow’s Eve at your door, educate them on the pagan, martyr, and Christian roots, but not commercial America.
WC: catholic.org, history.com, newadvent.org
Six months ago a friend said “Seth, you want to start a blog?” I vividly remember spelling the word out in my mind, b-l—o-g? Sure I had heard the word before, but only in passing on TV or talk radio. I’ll be honest, the blogging world was not on my A list of daily activities. But I had no idea what blogging really was, let alone how to go about it. Despite my false misconceptions, here I sit, beginning ‘Not On HIS Time.’ After some quick google and wikipedia searches, the act and purpose of blogging grows ever clearer. It has taken me about a month to create my blog as you see it now. Expert bloggers could probably do it in a couple hours. Despite my rookie status, I am excited to begin sharing insights into my life, thinking, and dreams through this new platform of communication.
Blogging as I see it. Not too long ago, the world did not have the world wide web. Dot com was not apart of everyday lingo. The phrase ‘Google it’ would have turned lost heads. But now, the world’s history is affected daily by the internet’s creation of instantaneous interconnectedness
between all seven continents. What once took years to receive news between Europe and Australia now takes just a ‘click.’ Somewhere up there our language flies about and plops down in our laps (a history major’s scientific insight ; ) Although this interconnectedness can be a true blessing for staying in touch, an err of caution must sit right next to that mouse. As soon as pecking away at a keyboard overtakes our daily relationships, then the blog becomes useless.
Nevertheless, sometimes face-to-face interaction is simply not possible, as is the case with most readers of this blog. For I am just three days into going public with my blog, and it has generated hits from all across the United States. To overcome
the long distance challenges between many of my friends, family, and those just passing through this platform, then the blog becomes an important tool of the modern age. Because when all technology is used cautiously, its result usually is healthy for all. But travel down the path of addiction to, resulting in the neglect of the really important blessings of this life, ‘then it is better to tie a mill stone around the hard drive and dropped in the sea.’ Therefore, let us continue to learn and grow through technology, but not to the expense of the everyday hello on the street.
Here we go…
This blog is another adventure into the unknown world of the mystical body of Christ, via the world wide web! This blog is my next turn as well as I explore blogging’s potential. To join the adventure, subscribe by clicking on the letter above, then entering your email, the security code, and then confirming by clicking on a link that will be sent to your email inbox. If you subscribe, an email alert will be sent to your inbox showing any new posts. Let us cast into the deep together, let us hold fast to His time.