section européenne Lycée VINCI à AMBOISE

section européenne Lycée VINCI à AMBOISE

Halloween : things to know about this feast

Did you know?:
Our ancestors celebrated New Year on November 1st.
They celebrated their New Year's Eve on October 31st.
Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in') marked the end of the "season of the sun" (Summer) and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold" ( Winter).

The Facts

Neither the word Halloween or the date 31 October are mentioned in any Anglo-Saxon text indicating that it was just an ordinary day a thousand years ago.

From the Medieval period (1066 - 1485) through to the 19th century, there is no evidence that 31 October was anything else other than the eve of All Saints Day.

From the 19th Century to the present day, 31st October has increasingly acquired a reputation as a night on which ghost, witches, and fairies, are especially active.

All Saints Day - 1 November

In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. Although it was a joyous holiday it was also the eve of All Souls Day, so in Medieval times it became customary to pray for the dead on this date.

Another name for All Saints Day is 'All Hallows' (hallow is an archaic English word for 'saint'). The festival began on All Hallows Eve, the last night of October.

Where does the name Halloween originate from?

Halloween comes from All Hallow Even, the eve (night before) All Hallows day. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

What similarities are there between the Celts and Halloween?

Evil spirits

The Celts believed that evil spirits came with the long hours of winter darkness. They believed that on that night the barriers between our world and the spirit world were at their weakest and therefore spirits were most likely to be seen on earth.

Bonfires

The Celts built bonfires to frighten the spirits away, and feasted and danced around the fires. The fires brought comfort to the souls in purgatory* and people prayed for them as they held burning straw up high.



02/11/2013
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