Samhain – All Hallow’s Eve – Hallowe’en- or witch came first?
Celebrate Samhain 🙂 thanks to CelestialElff
Last week found me pondering the narcissism of one’s beliefs being the paramount “belief” to be foisted upon others. Quite frankly I try to be very respectful of another person’s belief especially if they aren’t mirroring my own. I know what it is like to have one’s beliefs trampled upon , I have been devastated by the control of one group in negating my beliefs when it concerned the death of my son. ( Might does not make Right!) . I would not knowingly inflict that pain on anyone .
It is a long story( as to the email received) and the person who had the idea the majority in the community would certainly agree because hey! aren’t we all Christian and Roman Catholic in Lorain They meant well and they have a good good heart. But once again there is a narcissistic naivety in assuming ALL in this community have the same beliefs just because you are a part of the “majority!. I am sure my email to them stating I had to disagree and that I don’t believe as they do and would have to come out against their proposal came as a bit of a shock.
As I watched Zombies walk in Lorain
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.531496826936192.1073741848.476252369127305&type=3 “bloody and yukky” and the enjoyment of the undead as they danced along celebrating “death” gearing up for Hallowe’en and the retail pushing of ghosts , goblins and witches. As I was taking that on board and Christianity and the “holi DAYS” and their meanings I decided to go on a journey of my own. There is a sanctimonious piety that happens here as to ones beliefs being the “ONLY” true belief. Let us go back in time to other rituals of other beliefs …….
300th to 51st millennium BCE
223,000 – 100,000 BCE The earliest evidence of Hominids, such as Neanderthals and even Homo heidelbergensis, deliberately disposing of deceased individuals usually in funerary caches. The graves, located throughout Eurasia (e.g. the Pontnewydd Cave, Atapuerca Mountains, Qafzeh, Es Skhul, Krapina), are believed to represent the beginnings of ceremonial rites, although there is some debate about this. Neanderthals placed their deceased in simple graves with little or no concern for grave goods or markers; however, their graves occasionally appeared with limestone blocks in or on them, possibly an archaic form of grave marking. These practices were possibly the result of empathetic feelings towards fellow tribespeople, for example: an infant buried in the Dederiyeh Cave after its joints had disarticulated was placed with concern for the correct anatomical arrangement of its body parts.
We have to fast forward through thousands and thousands of years and about 87 thousand years later than that first evidence and over three thousand years before Christianity there were a groups of people – pagans – some call them :)but only since the 14th century wonder what they were called before that?
Middle English, from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; akin to Latin pangere to fix — more at pact
First Known Use: 14th century heathen 1; especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome) one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person
Druids – who celebrated October 31st as summers end.
Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in) means “summer’s end” by the Celts. In old Germanic and Celtic societies, what we call equinoxes and solstices marked the middles of the season, not the beginnings.” Therefore if there exist an autumnal equinox, winter solstice, spring equinox and a summer solstice, there are also the beginning of autumn, winter, spring and summer. All of these eight dates were important. Summer’s end which meant the beginning of winter was an important time for people who survived on plants grown in the field and animals that were kept in pastures. “This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death” It is most likely this reason that the Druids (Celtic pagans) believed that the spirits of those who died the preceding year roamed the earth the night of Samhain
The Druids celebrated this holiday “with a great fire festival to encourage the dimming Sun not to vanish” and people “danced round bonfires to keep evil spirits away, but left their doors open in hopes that the kind spirits of loved ones might join them around their hearths”.
On this night, “divination was thought to be more effective than any other time, so methods were derived to ascertain who might marry, what great person might be born, who might rise to prominence, or who might die”.
Also during the celebration, the Celts “wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes”. Crops were burned and animals were sacrificed The spirits were believed to be either “entertained by the living”, or to “find a body to possess for the incoming year”. This all gives reasons as to why “dressing up like witches, ghosts and goblins, villagers could avoid being possessed.” (Navarro )
By 43 AD, “Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory.” For the 400 years they occupied Celtic lands, two Roman festivals: Feralia (the commemoration of the passing of the dead) and a day to honor Pomona (the Roman goddess of fruits and trees). The apple served as a symbol for Pomona and which might have been incorporated into Samhain by the practice of “bobbing for apples”
When “local people converted to Christianity during the early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older religious traditions in order to win converts.
” Pope Gregory IV wanted to substitute Samhain with All Saints’ Day in 835, but All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2nd) which is closer in resemblance to Samhain and Halloween today, was “first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread throughout Europe” (MSN Learning & Research- Halloween).
In the 16th century, “Christian village children celebrated the vigil of All Saints’ by doing the Danse Macabre. The Seven Brethren whose grizzly death is described in the seventh chapter of the deuterocanonical book of Second Macabees” is also said to have resulted in children dressing up in grizzly costumes to signify these deaths.
So “which came first the “witch” or the priest, the goblins or gods, and what pagan holiday are you celebrating- the trick or the treat………….
Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Chris Ritchey, city of lorain, death, hell is other people, history, religion. Tags: All Saints, Christianity, City of Lorain, Hallowe'en, Holi Days, Lisa Miller, Lorain, Pagan Beliefs and Christianity, Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic Church, Samhain, thick as a plank, Witches among us.