Edited by Gerald Boerner

     
Commentary:

JerryPhotoHalloween is an exciting time of year, especially for children. They get to don costumes that make them into pirates, princesses, zombies, and other fantasy or horror film characters. These days these costumes have almost gotten out of hand, in that we have teenagers dressing up (or dressing down, as the case might be) in costumes ranging from pimp and ho outfits to who knows what else. Stores are even catering to costumes for adults, presumably to attend “adult” costume parties.

Not only the costumes getting out of hand, but too often foreign objects are found in the trick-or-treat candies collected by our kids. It has gotten so bad that parents need to take the haul of candy to local hospitals that offer X-ray services to determine if pins, razor blades, or other foreign objects are have been embedded in these goodies.

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This posting links to a series of posting first written two years ago. We will be rerunning those posting over the next several days so that you can learn what is behind all the traditions that we still celebrate. Please enjoy this information and let us know what you think of the info and what additional info you might want in the future… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1460 Words ]

    

Quotations Related to HALLOWEEN:

    

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.” 
— Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

“Eat, drink and be scary.”
— Author Unknown

“Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.”
— Steve Almond

“I’ll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.”
— Author Unknown

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.” 
— George Carlin

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” 
— Erma Bombeck

“Halloween is huge in my house and we really get into the “spirits” of things.” 
— Dee Snider

“This Halloween the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask.  And the best part?  With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him.” 
— Conan O’Brien

“Those seemingly interminable dark walks between houses, long before street-lit safety became an issue, were more adrenalizing than the mountains of candy filling the sack.  Sadly Halloween, with our good-natured attempts to protect the little ones, from the increasingly dangerous traffic and increasingly sick adults, has become an utter bore.” 
— Lauren Springer

    

Happy Halloween

    

    

Halloween-card-mirror-1904 Halloween is a holiday with ancient origins that has been gradually Americanized. Historians trace its roots back more than 2,000 years to Samhain, the first day of the Celtic New Year, observed around November 1. Samhain (“summer’s end”) was both a harvest festival and time when souls of the dead were believed to travel the earth.

In the ninth century, after Christianity spread to the British Isles, Pope Gregory IV designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day to honor all the saints of the Church. All Saints’ Day was also known as All Hallows’ (hallow means holy one or saint). The evening was called All Hallows’ Eve — over time shortened to Halloween. As often happened, pagan customs mixed with Christian traditions, and Halloween remained a time associated with ghosts and wandering spirits.

Halloween celebrations weren’t widespread in the United States until the great waves of Irish immigrants caused by the potato famine of the 1840s. The Catholic Irish brought both their observance of All Saints’ Day and remnants of the older Celtic traditions. Their festivities mixed with other Americans’ harvest customs to become Halloween as we know it today.

all-saints-dayThe American tradition of trick-or-treating echoes the ancient Celtic tradition of leaving food on doorsteps for souls of the dead. In Britain, people went “souling” on All Hallows’ Eve, walking from house to house asking for “soul cakes” in exchange for prayers for the dead.

In the Old World, people carved turnips and gourds into lanterns to scare away evil spirits. In America, they used pumpkins instead. Irish legend says a fellow named Jack was barred from hell for being too tricky, and had to walk the earth carrying a lantern lit with an ember the devil gave him. His name was Jack of the Lantern — or, as we say today, Jack-o’-Lantern.
    

    

Editor’s Note:
In 2009, we ran a series of articles related to a variety of Halloween traditions. Rather than reproducing them here, we include the following links, along with their first paragraph (or two) for your convenience. We hope that you will enjoy them…

    

[October 31, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3734

(The material above is from that posting.)

    

[October 30, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween Celebrations: Samhain…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3700

Samhain ("summer’s end", from sam "summer" and fuin "end") is a festival held at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic and Brythonic cultures. Principally a harvest festival, it also has aspects of a festival of the dead. It had its roots in ancient Celtic polytheism, and continued to be celebrated through medieval times, and is seen as contributing to the modern celebration of Halloween. Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year.

    

[October 29, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween Celebrations: ‘The Day of the Dead’…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3651

The Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos or All Souls’ Day) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 1st and 2nd in connection with the Catholic holiday of All Saints’ Day which occurs on November 1st and All Souls’ Day which occurs on November 2nd. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

    

[October 28, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween Celebrations: All Saints Day…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3636

All Saints’ Day (officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on November 1 in Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity in honor of all the saints, known and unknown.

In terms of Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. Specifically, in the Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.

    

[October 27, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween Celebrations: Trick-or-Treating…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3617

Trick-or-treating is a custom for children on Halloween. Children proceed in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as confectionery, or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" is an idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

In the United States, trick-or-treating is now one of the main traditions of Halloween and it has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters. The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of adults in the United States planned to give out confectionery to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating. The tradition of going from door to door receiving food already existed in Britain and Ireland, in the form of souling, where children and poor people would sing and say prayers for the dead in return for cakes. The North American Halloween custom of saying "trick or treat" has become more common. The activity is done in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and northwestern Mexico.

    

[October 26, 2009]
For More Info on Halloween Celebrations: Basic Traditions…
Check out my blog post at: http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=3608

Halloween (also spelled Hallowe’en) is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. It is largely a secular celebration but some have expressed strong feelings about perceived religious overtones.

The day is often associated with orange and black, and is strongly associated with symbols like 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.
    

References

       

Wikipedia: Halloween…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

Wikipedia: Samhain…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain

Wikipedia: ‘Day of the Dead’…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

Wikipedia: All-Saints Day…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints

Wikipedia: Trick-or-Treating…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trick-or-treating