Tag Archives: All Souls Day

“One For Me, One For You…”


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

two-bags-of-oranges

On the eve of All Souls Day, two boys ventured into one of the orange orchards in the village. They saw two bags of freshly plucked oranges lying unattended. Grabbing a bag each, they left the orchard unobserved. They then decided to go to a quiet place to share the lot equally.

While they jumped over the parapet wall of the village cemetery two oranges fell out of one of the bags but they did not bother to pick them at that time.

A few minutes later, the village drunkard Carolis Appuhamy, who looked after the churchyard and the cemetery was returning inebriated from the tavern. While passing the cemetery he heard a monotonous mumbling: “One for me, one for you, one for me, one for you, one for me, …

Frightened Carolis Appu ran as fast as he could to the church. When he saw Father Augustine he blurted “Anéy father, please come, come. I heard Satan and Saint Peduru sharing the dead at the cemetery.

Curiosity taking the upper hand, Fr Augustine followed Carolis Appu to the cemetery. The crouched near the parapet wall and heard the voice muttering, “One for me, one for you, one for me, one for you, one for me, …

Suddenly, the voice stopped counting and said: “FinishedWhat about those two outside the parapet wall?

Fr Augustine and Carolis Appu immediately took to flight. They ran towards the Church shouting madly in unison: “We are not dead, we are not dead…

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All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and The Celtic Festival of Samhain


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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All Saints

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All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun. You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17)

Even though the word Halloween has its origin from Christianity, according to some scholars it owes its origin to the pagan harvest festivals such as the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or to Parentalia, the festival of the dead or to the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Old Irish word for “summer’s end”.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

In some Gaelic languages, Samhain is the word for November.

All Saints Day, introduced in the year 609 AD, was originally celebrated on May 13. In 1835, at the behest of Pope Gregory IV, it was changed to November 1, the same date as Samhain. Some suggest the change was due to Celtic influence in Christianity while others suggest it as a Germanic idea.

Some early Irish literature mention that many important events in their mythology happened on Samhain. The festival of Samhain observed in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Asturias and Galicia. Samhain, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh make up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals. The Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) also held kindred festivals at the same time of the year such as Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

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Samhain Ritual
Samhain Ritual

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During Samhain, the Gaelic took stock, readied for the cold winter ahead, brought the cattle back down from the summer pastures, slaughtered livestock, lit bonfires, enacted rituals along with divination games. As a cleansing ritual, they would walk with their livestock between two bonfires, cast the bones of slaughtered livestock into its flames.

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All Souls' Day night vigil
All Souls’ Day night vigil

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The Gaelic believed, that during Samhain, the door to the Otherworlds or realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world. They beckoned souls of the dead kin to attend the feast by setting a place at the table for them. It has thus been likened to a festival of the dead. Lewis Spence in his book “The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain” described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies.”

Divination also took place during Samhain. The tradition says that in places like Asturias, “Güestia,” a group of spirits from the world of the dead, go out that night, walking in the forests and on roads. People drew circles on the floor and remained within those circles until the spirits passed them.

 

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The Traditions of Halloween


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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On October 31, the Eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ (or All Saints’) Day, most people in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and a few in Asia and Africa celebrate “All Hallows’ Evening.” This celebration is also known as Halloween or Hallowe’en or Hallowmas.

All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Tradition of Guising

The Gaels or Goidels speak one of the Gaelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and later spread to neighbouring regions. Celtic languages are most commonly spoken on the north-western edge of Europe, notably in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Cape Breton Island.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1.

The ancient Gaelic believed that during Samhain, the door to the nether worlds and realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world; so, they protected themselves from harmful spirits and fairies active in Samhain by taking various steps to allay or ward-off the harmful entities. One such act was the custom of Guising that influenced today’s Halloween costumes.

Were wolves and a skeleton
Were wolves and a skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Little Red Devil (Photo: Subas Raj)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Red Devil in 2011 (Photo: V.A. Subas Raj)
My grandson Rohan dressed as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
My grandson Rohan ‘guising‘ as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: Ligia Fernando)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: Ligia Fernando)

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In Scotland and Ireland, during Halloween, children go from a house to house, dressed up in various costumes. They receive gifts in the form of food, coins or apples or nuts and recently chocolates.

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A Witch, Maid, Imps, and a Skeleton
A Witch, a Maid, Astronauts, and a Skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

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The earliest record of Guising at Halloween comes from Scotland. In 1895, masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made by scooping out turnips, visited homes and were rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. It predates trick or treat.

The Tradition of Trick-or-Treating

In Scotland and Ireland, the people in the households expect the children who come to their houses to perform before they receive treats. The children sing or recite a joke or a funny poem which they had memorized before setting out. Some talented children may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or do something impressive. Often the children get a treat, even if they did not perform.

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IMG_4338
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

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While going from door-to-door in disguise, it has now become common for the children to pose the question: “Trick or treat?” The “trick” in this question happens to be an idle threat to perpetrate mischief on the homeowners or their property if they do not get the treat.

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Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

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The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, in the article “‘Trick or Treat’ Is Demand,” Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at the back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

The Tradition of Souling

Soul cakes
Soul cakes

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The tradition of going from door to door to receive food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland in the form of “souling”. The soulers, mainly consisting of children and the poor, would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for small round soul cakes, simply called souls, traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. Each cake eaten represented a soul freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes perhaps might be the origin of modern trick-or-treating.

The Tradition of Making Jack-o’-lanterns

The tradition of making lanterns during Halloween may have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. In the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands people made turnip lanterns sometimes with faces carved into them during Samhain. The lanterns may serve three ways: to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings and entities, to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

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Traditional Irish Jack-o’-Lantern Modern carving of a Cornish Jack-o’-Lantern made from a turnip. Jack-o’-lantern lit from within by a candle.

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Jack-o’-lanterns derived their names from the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern.

A modern jack-o’-lantern is typically a carved pumpkin. After cutting the top of the pumpkin, the flesh inside is scooped out. An image, usually a monstrous face, is carved out, and the lid replaced.

And as a passing thought I give you this Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor. Thanks to Ms. Sheila Ribeiro, a mutual friend who posted this on Facebook.

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A Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)
Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)

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The Tradition of “All Hallows’ Even,” or Halloween Day


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

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Every year, people in western countries celebrate “All Hallows’ Evening,” contracted to Halloween or Hallowe’en, on October 31st, the Eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints) Day. The word Halloween first used in the 16th century around 1556 represents a Scottish variant of the fuller “All Hallows’ Even,” meaning the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints Day that falls on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2, the time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed.

According to many scholars, western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain originally influenced the celebration of Halloween.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain

The medieval Gaelic celebrated Samhain, the most important of the four quarter days marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the darker half of the year on October 31 or November 1 or halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

All Saints Day, introduced in the year 609 A.D. and originally celebrated on May 13, switched in 835 A.D. to November 1, the same date as Samhain, at the behest of Pope Gregory IV, as some suggest due to Celtic influence while others suggest it as a Germanic idea.

Even though the word Halloween has its origin from Christianity, some scholars think it owes its origin to the pagan Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or to Parentalia, the festival of the dead or to the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Old Irish word for “summer’s end”.

Some early Irish literatures mention that many important events in their mythology happened on Samhain. The festival of Samhain observed in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Asturias, and Galicia. Along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh make up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals. The Gaelic (Irish, Scottish, and Manx) also held kindred festivals at the same time of the year such as Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

During Samhain, the Gaelic took stock, prepared for the cold winter ahead, brought the cattle back down from the summer pastures, slaughtered livestock, lit bonfires, enacted rituals along with divination games. As a cleansing ritual, they would walk with their livestock between two bonfires, cast the bones of slaughtered livestock into its flames.

The Gaelic believed, that during Samhain, the door to the Otherworlds or realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world. They beckoned souls of the dead kin to attend the feast by setting a place at the table for them. It has thus been likened to a festival of the dead. Lewis Spence in his book “The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain” described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies.”

Divination also took place during Samhain. The tradition says that in places like Asturias, “Güestia”, a group of spirits from the world of the dead, go out that night, walking in the forests and on roads. People drew circles on the floor and remained within those circles until the spirits passed them.

The Tradition of Guising

Were wolves and a skeleton
Were wolves and a skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

.

The Gaelic protected themselves from harmful spirits and fairies thought to be active in Samhain by taking various steps to allay or ward-off the harmful spirits and fairies, and one of them is the custom of Guising, that influenced today’s Halloween customs.

In Scotland and Ireland, during Halloween children go from a house to house, dressed up in various costumes. They receive gifts in the form of food, coins or apples or nuts and recently chocolates.

A Witch, Maid, Imps, and a Skeleton
A Witch, a Maid, Imps, and a Skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

.

The earliest record of Guising at Halloween comes from Scotland. In 1895, masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made by scooping out turnips visited homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruits, and money. It predates trick or treat,

Trick-or-Treating

Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

.

In Scotland and Ireland, the people in the households expect the children who come to their houses to perform before they receive treats. The children sing or recite a joke or a funny poem which they had memorized before setting out. Some talented children may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or do something impressive. Often the children get a treat, even if they did not perform.

While going from door-to-door in disguise, it has now become common for the children to pose the question: “Trick or treat?” The “trick” in this question happens to be an idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if they do not get the treat.

.

Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

.

The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, in the article “‘Trick or Treat’ Is Demand,” Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at the back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

The Tradition of Souling

The tradition of going from door to door to receive food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland in the form of “souling”. The soulers, mainly consisting of children and the poor, would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for small round soul cakes, simply called souls, traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. Each cake eaten represented a soul freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes perhaps might be the origin of modern trick-or-treating.

Soul cakes
Soul cakes

.

The Tradition of Making Jack-o’-lanterns

The tradition of making lanterns during Halloween may have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. In the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands people made turnip lanterns sometimes with faces carved into them during Samhain. The lanterns may serve three ways: to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings and entities, to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

Traditional Irish Jack-o’-Lantern Modern carving of a Cornish Jack-o’-Lantern made from a turnip. Jack-o’-lantern lit from within by a candle.

Jack-o’-lanterns derived their names from the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern.

A modern jack-o’-lantern is typically a carved pumpkin. After cutting the top of the pumpkin, the flesh inside is scooped out. An image, usually a monstrous face, is carved out, and the lid replaced.

.

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