Sometimes you have to go with the flow because you fail the strength to go against it. Not to mention that going against the tide of time just out of principle is also a stupid idea. I didn´t have it me me this week to struggle with the marketers.
This was a busy week for me and the Lady in Red because we moved from our summer camp in Berlin to Barcelona. No time for deep thoughts about the nature of time or the complexity of simplicity. The routine hustle of moving our household kept us busy for biggest part of the week and in the stolen minutes I just worked around a more lighter theme that anyway already is flying around the blogosphere for a couple of months: Halloween.
For those among you who´re still hesitating if Halloween is a Christian or a pagan tradition, I can affirm that is definitively a Christian tradition. The word Hallowe’en means “Saints’ evening”. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scots, the word eve is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Hallowe’en. Although the phrase “All Hallows'” is found in Old English, “All Hallows’ Eve” is itself not seen until 1556. Some of the folk traditions that surround it in some Celtic countries may be connected with a pre-christian festival called Samhain.
Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year. It was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned. This meant the Aos Sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into this world and were particularly active. Most scholars see them as “degraded versions of ancient gods whose power remained active in the people’s minds even after they had been officially replaced by later religious beliefs”.
Just remember, Halloween is more than just a party occasion: it´s a time of the year that many Christians are commemorating their departed relatives and friends.
4 thoughts on “The Cryptomathician and his Lady in Red wish you a Happy Halloween”
very interesting – I’m in Los Angeles, where many celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, a Mexican holiday on Nov. 1
It’s indeed a big thing in Mexico, with decorations of the graves, visiting cemeteries, and even leaving drinks and food there. They have a whole dead cult around it that is very much interwoven with their Maya cultural heritage.
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I continue to be confused by the wide array of attitudes about Halloween among Christian groups. I can understand if it feels “too pagan” to some, but then, to others the Day of the Dead is part of their religion.
The only grudge I personally carry is directed towards the marketing industry that spreads such events out over months in order to turn them into consumption events, making people to overlook the spiritual aspects of those days just to degrade them into some mindless party occasions.
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