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BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  Our BetterMost Community  |  The Holiday Forum (Moderator: Meryl)  |  Topic: Halloween Lore and Legends 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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« on: October 24, 2011, 10:46:05 pm »

What is this holiday known as Halloween anyway? According to History.com, it "originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween."

Wikipedia says, it has "origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)".[1] The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end".[1][2][3]

However, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English folk lore: "Certainly Samhain was a time for festive gatherings, and medieval Irish texts and later Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore use it as a setting for supernatural encounters, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times, or that pagan religious ceremonies were held." [4]

The Irish myths which mention Samhain were written in the 10th and 11th centuries by Christian monks. This is around 200 years after the Catholic church inaugurated All Saints Day and at least 400 year after Ireland became Christian."
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 03:03:52 pm »

What I find interesting now is the number of Catholics who don't want their kids to participate in the holiday because of the "evil" origins or connotations to it.

When I was little, and went to Catholic school, there was never any mention of this, all the kids celebrated Halloween, and the school always had a costume parade, and several of the nuns would participate, and wear costumes.
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 11:00:54 pm »

I think it is part of the growing Puritanism of America, Chuck.

It's interesting...Halloween's origins are in the Celtic nature rituals for sure. What people would call "the Pagans". But, the Celts grew to embrace Christianity just a hundred years or so after it started spreading in the Mediterranean. Then, in the 7th century, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that there would be a meeting, or synod, between the Celtic Christians and the Roman Christians ostensibly to decide when Easter would be celebrated. But it turned out that the Roman Christians pretty much took over and forced the Celtic Christians to disband. Ironically, Easter is celebrated according to the Celtic tradition, which means that they won the battle but lost the war. Also, very few people understand how to set the date of Easter each year (and why should the date of Christ's resurection be different from year to year? That's a whole 'nother story!)
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 11:05:30 pm »

I'm a little sad that my new grandson won't be able to know the joys of celebrating Halloween. My daughter's family is Messianic Jewish, and though they celebrate a lot of holidays, Halloween is not one of them. They celebrate the Jewish holidays religiously and the Christian holidays in a subdued way. But they shun the holidays of other religions and especially those that have pagan roots. Today, my daughter, grandson and I ate at a Tibetan restaurant and as we were leaving I started to spin a prayer wheel. My grandson was in my arms and reached up to spin the wheel too, but my daughter blocked his reach. Shame on me for corrupting my grandson, hehe!!
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 09:40:01 am »

What I find interesting now is the number of Catholics who don't want their kids to participate in the holiday because of the "evil" origins or connotations to it.

When I was little, and went to Catholic school, there was never any mention of this, all the kids celebrated Halloween, and the school always had a costume parade, and several of the nuns would participate, and wear costumes.

I know what you're talking about, but don't get the impression that it's specifically Catholic. If anything, fundamentalist Protestents seem to be more paranoid about the holiday.

Interestingly, at least one right-wing radio talk show host veddy, veddy much disapproves of Halloween.  Check out the audio at the link below -- it starts out quite sane; an elementary school principal was concerned about the school's Halloween celebration getting too time-consuming.  She was also concerned about "safety issues", which she wasn't specific about. Instead, the school had a Halloween party in the evening to which parents were invited.  

After the principal mentions that there would be trick-or-treating in the classrooms, the interview descends into pure lunacy.  (Not on the principal's part; she was pretty much left holding the phone.)

http://www.trn1.com/102511-laura-ingraham-halloween-in-school


I would have loved to have seen nuns in costumes!    Grin
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 09:50:53 am »

A source for some fun with Halloween:

http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/world/seasonal/halloween.html

Here's a few questions from one of the trivia quizzes.  Some of the questions are easy, some might take a little looking-up:


All of these celebrities were born on Halloween except one; can you tell me which one does not belong?

    River Phoenix
    John Candy
    Michael Landon
    Dan Rather

http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz342248272e1c8.html
The "Monster Mash", often played around the Halloween holiday, was a 1962 novelty song by which of the following groups?

    Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
    "Lord" Paul Bearer and the Grave-Diggers
    David "Doctor" Livingstone and the Tomb-Raiders
    "Sir" Jack O'Lantern and the Pumpkin Smashers


What was the point of the old Scottish Halloween tradition involving a young woman peeling an apple in one long strip and then throwing it over her shoulder?

    It would protect you against miscarriage
    It would protect you from the plague
    It would land in the shape of the number of children she would have
    The peel was believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 09:55:45 am »

I know what you're talking about, but don't get the impression that it's specifically Catholic. If anything, fundamentalist Protestents seem to be more paranoid about the holiday.

I expect you're probably correct about that, though I work with at least one super-Catholic who turns up her nose at Halloween and for just that reason.  Undecided

Quote
The "Monster Mash", often played around the Halloween holiday, was a 1962 novelty song by which of the following groups?

    Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers

("It was a graveyard smash!")

 Grin
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 10:16:20 am »

I would have loved to have seen nuns in costumes!    Grin

I remember we had a (for the time) "relaxed" order of nuns.  Some wore blue habits while others chose not to.  In general those who didn't wear the habit would dress in costumes.  I remember my kindergarten teacher (Sister Joan) wearing a ghost outfit.

The nuns who wore habits stayed in their habits, but particpated in the day's activities.
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 10:32:22 am »

I think tonight I will watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. After all, gotta be prepared for Halloween Night, when the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies through the air to bring toys all the good children.  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 12:52:23 pm »

All of these celebrities were born on Halloween except one; can you tell me which one does not belong?

    River Phoenix
    John Candy
    Michael Landon
    Dan Rather



River Phoenix. He died on Halloween. Comes to my mind every year. Undecided
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 01:00:22 pm »

I would have loved to have seen nuns in costumes!    Grin

Me, too!  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2011, 11:24:03 pm »



http://www.slate.com/articles/life/explainer/2011/10/why_do_ghosts_say_boo_.html

When Did Ghosts Start Saying “Boo”?
Plus: Is boo a scary word in other languages, too?
By Forrest Wickman
Posted Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at 6:59 PM ET



Why do ghosts say "boo"? And how long have they been saying it?


Everyone knows that ghosts say “boo,” but when did they first start using that scary word? And what about ghosts in other parts of the world—do they have their own version of boo?
 
Ghosts were saying "boo!" by the middle of the 19th century, though the exclamation had been used to frighten English-speaking children for at least 100 years before that. Perhaps the first appearance of boo in print comes from the book-length polemic Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Display’d  (1738), in which author Gilbert Crokatt defines it as , “a word that’s used in the north of Scotland to frighten crying children.” (It's not clear why people in Scotland would want to frighten a crying child.) The verbal tactic had been adopted by proper ghosts—and people with sheets on their heads—by the 1820s at the latest.

Variations of the word boo —including bo  and boh —have been found in books as published as far back as 500 years ago. While the Oxford English Dictionary  notes the similarity between bo and the Latin boāre  and the Greek βοãv,  both meaning “to cry aloud, roar, shout,” it’s unlikely that bo and boo—as nonsensical exclamations—derived  from these words. An etymological dictionary of Scottish from 1808 notes that the sound  might denote "a sound in imitation of the cry of a calf," or be related to menacing creatures like the bu-kow and the bu-man (a possible ancestor of the modern bogeyman).
 
The combination of the voiced, plosive b-  and the roaring -oo  sounds makes boo a particularly startling word. Some linguists argue that the “ooh” or “oh” sounds can be pronounced at a higher volume than other vowel sounds, such as the “ee” in “wheel.” Since boo is a monosyllable, it can also be said very quickly, which may add to its scariness.
 
If you want to frighten someone in Spain, you can say uuh  (pronounced like ooh in English), and in France you can say hou.  A Czech ghost might say baf.  In most European languages, including non-Romance languages like Polish and Turkish, the sound boo  is also understood as an attempt to scare someone, but it comes in different spellings. For example, the Spanish version is written as ¡bú!

The use of the word boo  for jeering doesn’t seem to have come about until the 19th century. Boo  is now used in slang to mean boyfriend or girlfriend (the term appears to derive from beau,  meaning lover), and in the 1950s it was hipster slang for marijuana—but these usages seem to be unrelated.
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 08:52:49 am »

Ghosts were saying "boo!" by the middle of the 19th century, though the exclamation had been used to frighten English-speaking children for at least 100 years before that. Perhaps the first appearance of boo in print comes from the book-length polemic Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Display’d  (1738), in which author Gilbert Crokatt defines it as , “a word that’s used in the north of Scotland to frighten crying children.” (It's not clear why people in Scotland would want to frighten a crying child.) The verbal tactic had been adopted by proper ghosts—and people with sheets on their heads—by the 1820s at the latest.

Hmm. Then I wonder how far back the expression about saying--or not saying--boo to a goose goes?  Huh?
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 02:42:26 pm »

Certainly not "legend" but maybe personal "lore": Those of us who went Trick or Treating as a child, what was your favorite treat to receive?

Mine was always a Milky Way candy bar. In fact, I still use a Milky Way to "treat" myself.  Grin

(When I don't use liquor. ...  Roll Eyes )
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 03:43:54 pm »

For me, it was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I could eat a thousand of 'em!
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2011, 03:52:45 pm »

For me, it was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I could eat a thousand of 'em!

You're supposed to guard the peanut butter cups, not eat 'em.  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 08:50:04 pm »

You're supposed to guard the peanut butter cups, not eat 'em.  Grin

Good Halloween Brokieism!  Cheesy



Getting back to the religious disapproval of Halloween, my sons' elementary school never allowed any Halloween parties or costumes because of that. And this was a public school, in a blue neighborhood in a blue city in a blue(ish) state. There were a handful of students from conservative Christian families, plus quite a few kids of Muslim immigrants (not sure how they stand on Halloween, but that might be relevant).

The school apparently was just playing it reeeeaaally safe -- it wasn't even district policy.



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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2014, 08:18:03 am »

I don't know what it's like in your areas, but NJ is already getting set up for autumn and Halloween. 

Stores are stocked with Halloween candy, decorations are starting to appear (for sale, houses are not decorated yet).  Stores that sell garden related stuff already have mums and other autumnal items out for display.

Pumpkins are soon to follow.
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2014, 05:51:21 pm »

I don't know what it's like in your areas, but NJ is already getting set up for autumn and Halloween. 

Stores are stocked with Halloween candy, decorations are starting to appear (for sale, houses are not decorated yet).  Stores that sell garden related stuff already have mums and other autumnal items out for display.

Pumpkins are soon to follow.

 laugh

I didn't know the English word for chrysanthemum was mum!

Your sentence made absolutely no sense to me, Chuck! I mean, you usually don't consider a mother being an item of autumnal display....  Roll Eyes

Thank god for dictionaries!   Grin
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2014, 08:05:50 pm »

I have never heard that either but we do really speak a different language  Grin
Here Mum is mother. We never say mom.
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2014, 08:48:15 pm »

I didn't know the English word for chrysanthemum was mum!

The English word for chrysanthemum is ... chrysanthemum, but Americans often shorten it to mum, especially in conversation.  Smiley

My grandma was a great gardener, and she almost always said mum rather than chrysanthemum.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2014, 08:54:23 pm »

I didn't know the English word for chrysanthemum was mum!

Your sentence made absolutely no sense to me, Chuck! I mean, you usually don't consider a mother being an item of autumnal display....  Roll Eyes

Thank god for dictionaries!   Grin

Well,  the name here is Chrysanthemum as well, but Americans seem to shorten pretty much everything, so we just call them "mums".    And because we use "mom", we'd never confuse the two.
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« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2014, 08:54:50 pm »

Oooops!  Jeff beat me to it!  LOL
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2014, 09:16:26 am »

The English word for chrysanthemum is ... chrysanthemum, but Americans often shorten it to mum, especially in conversation.  Smiley



Well,  the name here is Chrysanthemum as well, but Americans seem to shorten pretty much everything, so we just call them "mums".   


I see. Well, that makes kinda sorta sense - in a way.   Grin
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2014, 09:24:10 am »

Here Mum is mother. We never say mom.


And because we use "mom", we'd never confuse the two.

This is a bit more puzzling. I always thought mom and mum are the same. Apparently they aren't.

What's the difference? Do they have different meaning? Or is it a geographic difference? Is the pronounciation different?

The mysteries of the English language never cease to surprise me...
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2014, 09:42:08 am »


This is a bit more puzzling. I always thought mom and mum are the same. Apparently they aren't.

What's the difference? Do they have different meaning? Or is it a geographic difference? Is the pronounciation different?

The mysteries of the English language never cease to surprise me...

I think that Mom and Mommy have evolved to be mostly American (apparently still used in Birmingham, in the Midlands); Mum and Mummy are likely more British/Commowealth countries.
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« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2014, 09:46:46 am »

Ok, I see. Thanks Paul!
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« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2014, 10:17:33 am »

"As a surprise, I sent my mom some mums, so mum's the word."
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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2014, 10:24:19 am »

  Cool
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« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2014, 10:18:52 pm »

This is a bit more puzzling. I always thought mom and mum are the same. Apparently they aren't.

What's the difference? Do they have different meaning? Or is it a geographic difference? Is the pronounciation different?

The mysteries of the English language never cease to surprise me...


Well, over here in the US, mom is pronounced 'mahm', while mum is pronounced 'muhm'.

Mothers are called mom or 'mommy'.

if we here 'mum' we'll think of this:



and if we hear 'mummy' we'll think of this:


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« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2014, 10:20:59 pm »

"As a surprise, I sent my mom some mums, so mum's the word."

Oh yeah, in the US, "mum" can be used to mean "keep your mouth shut".  Paul's example above is a good one, "I'm sending mom some mums, don't tell anyone."
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« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2014, 11:23:08 am »

Meanwhile, this Friday, September 19, is annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Grin
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« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2014, 08:12:53 pm »

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« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2014, 08:14:40 pm »

and then...........back to Halloween




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« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2014, 06:05:31 pm »

Thanks for the extensive mum/mom explanation, Chuck!  Kiss
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« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2014, 08:45:55 pm »

You got it, Sonja!  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2014, 03:36:04 pm »

I may get it in writing, but part of the problem is the strange and different ways vowels are pronounced in English/American!  Roll Eyes Grin
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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2014, 06:44:54 pm »

I ordered  my Halloween costume today.  Grin
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« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2014, 09:16:36 am »

Halloween ought to be a real blast this year. It's a Friday!  Cheesy
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« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2014, 12:08:34 am »

I'm sure there will be a ton of parties and such around.

I'll either be with family (it's Trenton's first Halloween) or friends.
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« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2014, 11:09:18 pm »





People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.


http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/jack-olantern-history
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« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2014, 11:18:48 pm »




Samhain (pronounced SAH-win or SOW-in) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year.  It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, which is nearly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.  Along with Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh it makes up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals.  It was observed in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.  Kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall), and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is known to have pre-Christian roots.  Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain.  It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter.  As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit.  These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them.  Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world.  Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits.  It was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter.  Offerings of food and drink were left for them.  The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes.  Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food.  The costumes may have been a way of imitating, or disguising oneself from, the Aos Sí. Divination rituals were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples.  In the late 19th century, Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer suggested that it was the "Celtic New Year", and this view has been repeated by some other scholars.

In the 9th century, the Roman Catholic Church shifted the date of All Saints' Day to 1 November, while 2 November later became All Souls' Day. Over time, Samhain and All Saints'/All Souls' merged and helped to create the modern Halloween.
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« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2014, 07:55:08 pm »




The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a "blood-curdling scream."

The Jersey Devil has worked its way into the pop culture of the area, lending its name to New Jersey's team in the National Hockey League, appeared on an early episode of The X-Files and was a minor character in the video game The Wolf Among Us.

The earliest legends date back to Native American folklore, wherein the Lenni Lenape tribes called the area "Popuessing". meaning "place of the dragon".[3] Swedish explorers later named it "Drake Kill" ("drake" being a word for dragon, and "kill" meaning channel or arm of the sea (river, stream, etc.) in Dutch).[4]

The accepted origin of the story, is as follows:

"It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after finding she was pregnant for the 13th time, stated that this one would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a goat's head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890."

"Mother Leeds" has been identified by some as Deborah Leeds, on grounds that Deborah Leeds' husband, Japhet Leeds, named twelve children in the will he wrote in 1736, which is compatible with the legend. Deborah and Japhet Leeds also lived in the Leeds Point section of what is now Atlantic County, New Jersey, which is commonly the location of the Jersey Devil story.
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« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2014, 07:56:56 pm »




The chupacabra or chupacabras (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾas], from chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker") is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas, with the first sightings reported in Puerto Rico. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.

Physical descriptions of the creature vary. It is purportedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.

Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and The Philippines, but many of the reports have been disregarded as uncorroborated or lacking evidence. Sightings in northern Mexico and the southern United States have been verified as canids afflicted by mange.  Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabra as a contemporary legend.
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« Reply #44 on: October 19, 2014, 08:00:05 pm »




The Ouija board (/ˈwiːdʒə/ WEE-jə), also known as a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words "yes", "no", "hello" (occasionally), and "goodbye", along with various symbols and graphics. It uses a planchette (small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to indicate the spirit's message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. Participants place their fingers on the planchette, and it is moved about the board to spell out words. "Ouija" has become a trademark that is often used generically to refer to any talking board.

Following its commercial introduction by businessman Elijah Bond on July 1, 1890, the Ouija board was regarded as a harmless parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I.

Mainstream religions and some occultists have associated use of a Ouija board with the concept of demonic possession, and view the use of the board as a spiritual threat and have cautioned their followers not to use a Ouija board.

Despite being dismissed by the scientific community and deemed demonic by many Christians, Ouija remains popular among many people.[2] Some contemporary users regard the Ouija board as a harmless toy, while others believe in its use as a spiritual tool.
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« Reply #45 on: October 19, 2014, 09:13:23 pm »




The chupacabra or chupacabras (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾas], from chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker") is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas, with the first sightings reported in Puerto Rico. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.

Physical descriptions of the creature vary. It is purportedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.

Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and The Philippines, but many of the reports have been disregarded as uncorroborated or lacking evidence. Sightings in northern Mexico and the southern United States have been verified as canids afflicted by mange.  Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabra as a contemporary legend.


Hey! It's got a head like an alien!
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« Reply #46 on: October 19, 2014, 10:04:54 pm »

Yeah, he does.   I get that the Chupacarbra and Jersey Devil are not Halloween related, but since we seem to talk about all things scary for Halloween, I posted them here.
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« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2015, 10:43:21 am »

Ok, so now that we're in October, how about we post up some places that are suposedly haunted in our home states?

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« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2016, 02:21:03 pm »

Today is November 2, All Souls' Day, also known as the Day of the Dead.
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« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2016, 03:37:03 pm »

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« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2017, 07:12:56 pm »

Tomorrow is Samhain.  Cool
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« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2017, 10:07:32 pm »

Happy Halloween everyone!!
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« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2017, 10:18:38 pm »

Tomorrow is Samhain.  Cool

I noted that in my very first published story, when I was in journalism school -- a feature in the University of Minnesota daily paper called "Celebrate Halloween Like the Druids Did." It was written in the cheery style of a feature in a home and garden magazine or newspaper lifestyle section, except that instead of "slice kalamata olives into spider shapes and put them on deviled eggs" it was based on my research of Druid traditions, so more like, "gather around the fire with your family, carve a face into a gourd and light it with a candle to scare away demons, for tonight the dead return to earth and walk among us" and that sort of thing.

Everybody liked it except my magazine writing teacher, who gave it a C minus. When I pointed out that it had run on the front page of the Daily, she raised my grade to a B. Apparently she was very religious and was offended by the lighthearted references to demons and such.



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« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2017, 10:09:30 am »

I noted that in my very first published story, when I was in journalism school -- a feature in the University of Minnesota daily paper called "Celebrate Halloween Like the Druids Did." It was written in the cheery style of a feature in a home and garden magazine or newspaper lifestyle section, except that instead of "slice kalamata olives into spider shapes and put them on deviled eggs" it was based on my research of Druid traditions, so more like, "gather around the fire with your family, carve a face into a gourd and light it with a candle to scare away demons, for tonight the dead return to earth and walk among us" and that sort of thing.

 laugh

When I visit my dad, we usually stop for a Dunkin Donuts coffee on Sunday mornings on our way home from church. This past Sunday when I went into the store to get the coffee, I noticed that they had Halloween-themed doughnuts. I thought "the Spider" was cute. It was one of their ordinary doughnuts with orange frosting. On top of doughnut they had a chocolate Dunkin' Munchkin, with stripes of black frosting over the orange to represent the spider's legs.  Grin

Quote
Everybody liked it except my magazine writing teacher, who gave it a C minus. When I pointed out that it had run on the front page of the Daily, she raised my grade to a B. Apparently she was very religious and was offended by the lighthearted references to demons and such.

Commonly this time of year there are reports of some religious fundamentalist or other wanting to cancel Halloween. Anybody see anything like that this year?

If the teacher allowed her religious beliefs to interfere with her evaluation of your work, she should have been ashamed of herself.

I used to know a Wiccan who considered this the High Holy Day.
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« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2017, 10:42:43 pm »

Everybody liked it except my magazine writing teacher, who gave it a C minus. When I pointed out that it had run on the front page of the Daily, she raised my grade to a B. Apparently she was very religious and was offended by the lighthearted references to demons and such.


Roll Eyes
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« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2017, 10:45:46 pm »

When I visit my dad, we usually stop for a Dunkin Donuts coffee on Sunday mornings on our way home from church. This past Sunday when I went into the store to get the coffee, I noticed that they had Halloween-themed doughnuts. I thought "the Spider" was cute. It was one of their ordinary doughnuts with orange frosting. On top of doughnut they had a chocolate Dunkin' Munchkin, with stripes of black frosting over the orange to represent the spider's legs.  Grin




Commonly this time of year there are reports of some religious fundamentalist or other wanting to cancel Halloween. Anybody see anything like that this year?

If the teacher allowed her religious beliefs to interfere with her evaluation of your work, she should have been ashamed of herself.

I used to know a Wiccan who considered this the High Holy Day.


I think that they still consider it a Holy Day.   I have a few friends  who are Wiccan, and they tend to mark the day with a ceremony.
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« Reply #56 on: November 01, 2017, 10:08:49 am »

Today is the feast of All Saints. Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos.
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« Reply #57 on: November 01, 2017, 10:41:26 am »

Commonly this time of year there are reports of some religious fundamentalist or other wanting to cancel Halloween. Anybody see anything like that this year?

I don't think religious fundamentalists hold the power to "cancel Halloween" period. But kids in many schools, Minneapolis schools for example, are not allowed to wear costumes -- not even non-scary ones -- to class on Halloween because of people with religious objections.

Quote
If the teacher allowed her religious beliefs to interfere with her evaluation of your work, she should have been ashamed of herself.

I know! And think about it -- we're talking about someone who also was an academic and a journalist in the 1970s. Back in them days I didn't even know there were such a thing as religious fundamentalists outside of Southern things like tent revivals or snake handling or speaking in tongues. But in Minnesota, in that era, on a college campus? I doubt she was anything more extreme than a devout Lutheran or Catholic.

Within just a few years, I had met fundamentalists here. They weren't college instructors, though.

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I used to know a Wiccan who considered this the High Holy Day.

Yup. I once did a package of stories about Wiccans (and the European witch persecutions -- not quite connected, but at least somewhat related).

Today is the feast of All Saints. Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos.

I believe this to be the result of one of those compromises between pagans' holiday to honor the dead (Samhain) and Christians' preference for giving things a Christian overlay. Like the way Christmas shares symbolism with winter solstice and Easter with spring solstice. They're related to seasons and to planting and harvest cycles. Those early European Christians were good at finding those kinds of compromises. At least, back in them days, some of the time ...  Angry


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« Reply #58 on: November 01, 2017, 12:37:42 pm »

I don't think religious fundamentalists hold the power to "cancel Halloween" period. But kids in many schools, Minneapolis schools for example, are not allowed to wear costumes -- not even non-scary ones -- to class on Halloween because of people with religious objections.

Of course they don't, but some of them make a fuss; it seems to me it's similar to the fuss made about "the War on Christmas," just coming from a different place.  Angry

Quote
I know! And think about it -- we're talking about someone who also was an academic and a journalist in the 1970s. Back in them days I didn't even know there were such a thing as religious fundamentalists outside of Southern things like tent revivals or snake handling or speaking in tongues. But in Minnesota, in that era, on a college campus? I doubt she was anything more extreme than a devout Lutheran or Catholic.

Yeah, I once worked with a devout Catholic who objected to Halloween.

Quote
I believe this to be the result of one of those compromises between pagans' holiday to honor the dead (Samhain) and Christians' preference for giving things a Christian overlay. Like the way Christmas shares symbolism with winter solstice and Easter with spring solstice. They're related to seasons and to planting and harvest cycles. Those early European Christians were good at finding those kinds of compromises. At least, back in them days, some of the time ...  Angry

Yes. But, at the risk of sounding prejudiced against Roman Catholics (OK, I admit I am sort of prejudiced against the Roman clergy), in later days the Catholic Church was particularly good at that kind of syncretism; they felt they could win more converts if they allowed the natives to adapt some of their pagan customs to Catholic Christianity. I mention this because I think it's particularly applicable to Dia de los Muertos. I seem to recall reading somewhere that customs associated with this holiday go back to pre-Christian Mexico.

As a matter of fact, this sort of syncretism even appears in Margaret Coel's "Wind River Mysteries" novels, which take place in the present day on the Arapaho Reservation in Wyoming. Some of the stories feature one of the main characters, Father John O'Malley, a Jesuit, allowing Arapaho customs to be used in addition to the Roman Catholic Mass as part of funeral ceremonies.

At least in North America, anyway, I think Protestants were far less tolerant of this combination of native and Christian customs. For example, I'm thinking of the Puritan clergyman the Rev. John Eliot, who was a missionary to the natives in Massachusetts, who required his converts to give up all of their native customs.

Not braggin' on the Protestants here, just sayin.'
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« Reply #59 on: November 01, 2017, 12:39:12 pm »

So, what does Halloween have in common with Valentine's Day and Easter?

The day after, any leftover candy goes on sale.  Grin
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« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2017, 07:22:49 pm »

R. gave me this cute little statuette that belonged to his late wife. I'm loving it!

Also, a bumper sticker EDelMar gave me.
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« Reply #61 on: November 01, 2017, 07:47:17 pm »

Of course they don't, but some of them make a fuss; it seems to me it's similar to the fuss made about "the War on Christmas," just coming from a different place.  Angry

At least it makes a little more sense; thinking Halloween is evil or sacrilegious is at least an arguable position. The idea that Christmas is under any kind of threat is insane. The country spends a month celebrating it. It vastly overwhelms any other December holiday. It's the heaviest travel time of year, the heaviest party time of year. For retailers, it's the season that makes or breaks their entire year's revenues.

Now, if the War on Christmas forces were to object to the commercialization of the holiday, they'd potentially have a point. But that's not even their objection! To get enraged because people say "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is rude, intolerant and completely absurd.

Quote
Yes. But, at the risk of sounding prejudiced against Roman Catholics (OK, I admit I am sort of prejudiced against the Roman clergy), in later days the Catholic Church was particularly good at that kind of syncretism; they felt they could win more converts if they allowed the natives to adapt some of their pagan customs to Catholic Christianity. I mention this because I think it's particularly applicable to Dia de los Muertos. I seem to recall reading somewhere that customs associated with this holiday go back to pre-Christian Mexico.

... At least in North America, anyway, I think Protestants were far less tolerant of this combination of native and Christian customs. For example, I'm thinking of the Puritan clergyman the Rev. John Eliot, who was a missionary to the natives in Massachusetts, who required his converts to give up all of their native customs.

Not braggin' on the Protestants here, just sayin.'

I don't understand why it would be braggin'. I like the Catholic approach better. It blends the traditions to make them more appealing, rather than simply saying "Your traditions suck and you must abandon those and adopt ours." Rev. Eliot and the like seem to be practicing ... well, not genocide assuming they're not killing people, but culture-cide, at least.

I'm not clear on what era Christians urged pagans to combine customs, though. Because obviously at some point they started burning and otherwise killing people who didn't adopt their customs or who were suspected of violating them.

My guess was that things like All Saints Day -- and for that matter, the concept of venerating saints as a replacement for worshipping multiple deities -- and Christmas and Easter happened in the first millennium or so, give or take a couple of hundred years. The witch persecutions and Crusades and brutal fighting between Catholics and Protestants -- those less tolerant practices dominated the middle of the following millennium. Feel free to correct me if I've got it wrong; that's just what I figured.

When I was growing up, so mid-20th century, the family behind us was Catholic and the family next to us was Lutheran, and there was friction between them! And another family said that before moving into the neighborhood they drove through looking for Jewish names on the mailboxes. The Rosens almost kept them out, though to my knowledge the Rosens weren't even Jewish!  Roll Eyes


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« Reply #62 on: November 02, 2017, 07:02:24 pm »

I completely forgot to mention to everyone that October 31 was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg Castle. Or, did he Mail them instead, as the History Channel surmises: http://www.history.com/news/martin-luther-might-not-have-nailed-his-95-theses-to-the-church-door
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« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2017, 07:49:48 pm »

I completely forgot to mention to everyone that October 31 was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg Castle. Or, did he Mail them instead, as the History Channel surmises: http://www.history.com/news/martin-luther-might-not-have-nailed-his-95-theses-to-the-church-door

I wonder ... Do you think guys like Martin Luther even knew it was Halloween? Or would that concept not get widely popularized in mainstream society for a few hundred more years?

I guess I should know this from my study of Halloweens past, but a) I don't think I studied anything that recent and b) my college class in itself occurred around a Halloween pretty long past.  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #64 on: November 02, 2017, 08:30:52 pm »

There wasn't such a thing as Halloween back then. It was largely a late 18th century event created in the U.S.
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« Reply #65 on: November 03, 2017, 09:11:29 am »

I wonder ... Do you think guys like Martin Luther even knew it was Halloween? Or would that concept not get widely popularized in mainstream society for a few hundred more years?

It may depend on how you define Halloween. Certainly it wasn't the festival as we know it, but Luther was an Augustinian monk and a priest, so I'm sure he would have known it as the eve of All Saints' Day ("All Hallows Even").  For myself I suspect that "All Hallows" is an English usage, but still Luther would have been aware that it was the evening before All Saints' Day.

I need to check the issue date--I don't have it with me here at work--but according to Joan Accocella (I think that's who wrote the article) in TNY, scholars now think nailing the theses to the church door is a pious legend. They don't seem to dispute that the theses were quickly spread widely thanks to the social media of the day--movable-type printing. Perhaps Luther himself took them to a printer? (I wonder who paid for the printing?)

On Sunday I noticed that my home (Lutheran) church had an English translation of the theses posted next to the library door.

Have I told this story before? Many, many years ago, as a memorial, somebody gave the church a bronze statue called "Christ Ascending"; it was placed on a wall in the narthex. When the church built a new entryway, an elevator was installed for easier access for parishioners unable to climb stairs. The statue was moved. It now hangs directly over the elevator door.  Grin

Even the pastor didn't think of that until I pointed it out to him one Sunday.  Grin
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« Reply #66 on: November 03, 2017, 09:59:42 am »

There wasn't such a thing as Halloween back then. It was largely a late 18th century event created in the U.S.

It may depend on how you define Halloween. Certainly it wasn't the festival as we know it, but Luther was an Augustinian monk and a priest, so I'm sure he would have known it as the eve of All Saints' Day ("All Hallows Even").  For myself I suspect that "All Hallows" is an English usage, but still Luther would have been aware that it was the evening before All Saints' Day.

Yes, Halloween has ancient, pre-Christian roots, as I was saying in previous comments. It didn't spring up out of nowhere in the post-industrial U.S., with people suddenly deciding to dress up as sexy witches and celebrities and make deviled eggs topped with spiders of cut-up kalamata olives. It's based on ancient Celtic customs.

From History.com:

Quote
Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

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. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.


This was exactly the stuff my college newspaper story talked about, except turned into Good Housekeeping-style "you should try this!" language.

So I wasn't asking whether, as Luther was going about publicizing the theses (by whatever method), was he also fretting about what to go as for the Halloween party that night and whether to try making those deviled eggs? No. I didn't mean Halloween 500 years ago was just like Halloween now.

My question was more like, then what was it? Obviously it started 2,000 years ago and never died out entirely. Our modern customs of dressing in costumes, carving gourds with faces and believing that scary otherwordly creatures were roaming around -- those all date back to pre-Christian Europe. It seems unlikely that modern partiers did the research and decided to revive millennia-old customs; they must have lingered in some form throughout the centuries.

So I know what they did 2,000 years ago. And I know what they do today. But in between, as in Luther's time, I wonder what form it took -- who carried on the practices and in what ways, so that they remained in the culture and yet weren't as offensive as you'd think they would have been to the Catholic Church in 1517, or apparently to my college journalism teacher in 1980.



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« Reply #67 on: November 03, 2017, 12:44:05 pm »

So I know what they did 2,000 years ago. And I know what they do today. But in between, as in Luther's time, I wonder what form it took -- who carried on the practices and in what ways, so that they remained in the culture and yet weren't as offensive as you'd think they would have been to the Catholic Church in 1517, or apparently to my college journalism teacher in 1980.

My guess, and it is just a guess, is that it would be country folk, poorly educated (if at all), and less under the immediate supervision of the Church than city-dwellers would be, who carried on a lot of the ancestral customs (just not what particular customs they carried on, or how they carried them on). And I think the customs would have been offensive to the Church, especially to the Church hierarchy. The Church just wasn't able to stamp them out in remote rural areas.

Probably there would have been a village Catholic priest, but he probably came from the same background as his parishioners and was hardly better educated than them, maybe with barely enough Latin to celebrate Mass (no Jesuit universities to train educated priests in them days). In the 16th century one of the complaints of the Reformers was the ignorance of the country clergy.

And of course, along with the village priest, there would have been a village wise woman. I guess--again, just a guess--she might have known more lore passed down from the ancestors than just the use of herbs, etc., to treat sick people and sick livestock.

I am certain of what I wrote about the complaints of the Reformers concerning ignorant clergy (at least in England, but I doubt it would have much different on the Continent). The rest--my guessing--may be rooted in vague memories of books read in college and graduate school. I still have in my library a book called Religion and the Decline of Magic, by Keith Thomas, which I read in grad school. I haven't looked into that book in years, but maybe some of what I'm guessing above is rooted in memories of Thomas.
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« Reply #68 on: November 03, 2017, 01:06:12 pm »

Your account is similar to what I've found, Jeff. The early 1500s were actually part of the Middle Ages when there was much superstition and infighting among the religious sects. In Scotland, for instance, the catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, made witchcraft illegal in 1563, punishable by burning at the stake. So, if the old Samhain rituals were still practiced, it must have been way out in the middle of nowhere.

In fact, the more I read about it, the more Scottish magic and its practitioners seem to have had similar experiences as those growing up gay in 1960s Wyoming.  Undecided

More details here: http://skyelander.orgfree.com/witch1.html
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« Reply #69 on: November 03, 2017, 03:46:33 pm »

Here's what I wrote about it in 2011:
What is this holiday known as Halloween anyway? According to History.com, it "originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween."

Wikipedia says, it has "origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)".[1] The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end".[1][2][3]

However, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English folk lore: "Certainly Samhain was a time for festive gatherings, and medieval Irish texts and later Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore use it as a setting for supernatural encounters, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times, or that pagan religious ceremonies were held." [4]

The Irish myths which mention Samhain were written in the 10th and 11th centuries by Christian monks. This is around 200 years after the Catholic church inaugurated All Saints Day and at least 400 year after Ireland became Christian."
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« Reply #70 on: November 03, 2017, 05:25:30 pm »

My guess, and it is just a guess, is that it would be country folk, poorly educated (if at all), and less under the immediate supervision of the Church than city-dwellers would be, who carried on a lot of the ancestral customs (just not what particular customs they carried on, or how they carried them on). And I think the customs would have been offensive to the Church, especially to the Church hierarchy. The Church just wasn't able to stamp them out in remote rural areas.

Probably there would have been a village Catholic priest, but he probably came from the same background as his parishioners and was hardly better educated than them, maybe with barely enough Latin to celebrate Mass (no Jesuit universities to train educated priests in them days). In the 16th century one of the complaints of the Reformers was the ignorance of the country clergy.

And of course, along with the village priest, there would have been a village wise woman. I guess--again, just a guess--she might have known more lore passed down from the ancestors than just the use of herbs, etc., to treat sick people and sick livestock.

I am certain of what I wrote about the complaints of the Reformers concerning ignorant clergy (at least in England, but I doubt it would have much different on the Continent). The rest--my guessing--may be rooted in vague memories of books read in college and graduate school. I still have in my library a book called Religion and the Decline of Magic, by Keith Thomas, which I read in grad school. I haven't looked into that book in years, but maybe some of what I'm guessing above is rooted in memories of Thomas.

Your guesses seem very plausible to me. Is Religion and the Decline of Magic good? Sounds interesting.


Your account is similar to what I've found, Jeff. The early 1500s were actually part of the Middle Ages when there was much superstition and infighting among the religious sects. In Scotland, for instance, the catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, made witchcraft illegal in 1563, punishable by burning at the stake. So, if the old Samhain rituals were still practiced, it must have been way out in the middle of nowhere.

In fact, the more I read about it, the more Scottish magic and its practitioners seem to have had similar experiences as those growing up gay in 1960s Wyoming.  Undecided

More details here: http://skyelander.orgfree.com/witch1.html

I interviewed a Minneapolis author who wrote Daughters of the Witching Hill, a novel based on a true story of a mass witch execution in about 1600 in a town in England where the book's author, Mary Sharratt, lived for a while. Apparently the case was well known in the area -- they used their witchy past as a tourist attraction much the way Salem, Mass., does. Sharratt did a huge amount of research on the case -- read the primary sources like handwritten court documents, took history classes at the local college, etc.

In this book, it's a poor older woman and some of her friends and family who were executed. And by poor, I mean they had to beg for whatever food they would eat that day. So poverty was one risk factor for being accused of witchcraft. So was annoying or angering an authority with power (which this woman had done). As was having been around anyone who got sick and died or lost a cow or whatever -- and in them days, as you can imagine, situations like that were hard to avoid. So it didn't take much. I've also heard that older women who did have wealth were sometimes accused so the authorities could seize the possessions (much like now, when cops seize property of people who've been charged with, but not convicted, of a crime). I was surprised that, in this novel, the accused witch herself semi-suspected she was a witch. I asked the author about that. She explained that the woman would have believed the superstitions as much as the other townsfolk did. Why wouldn't she?

Anyway, to bring this conversation semi back on topic, the episode took place at the time of much religious shifting and upheaval in Europe. The old woman recalled the merrier days of her own childhood, when Catholics were in power. Now Protestants had taken over, and not only was life for ordinary people less carefree and fun, but monks and priests were hunted and executed to the point that they had to hide in people's attics the way European Jews did in the Holocaust.

And to bring it back almost completely on topic, I don't know how much Samhain is directly related to witches. I mean, certainly Wiccans today celebrate it. And maybe the wise women/healer types who served those small communities -- and might have been accused of witchcraft when male-dominated medicine and Christianity took over -- were especially into it, too.

But I got the impression that those Samhain celebrations were pretty widespread among just ordinary folk. Like, if Beaver Cleaver's family had lived back then, they would have had a big bonfire and carved a gourd and other Samhain things, the way today they might carve a jack-o-lantern and go trick-or-treating.


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« Reply #71 on: November 03, 2017, 10:22:37 pm »

Your guesses seem very plausible to me. Is Religion and the Decline of Magic good? Sounds interesting.

I remember it as very good and very interesting. The old paperback on my bookshelf is copyrighted 1971.
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« Reply #72 on: November 04, 2017, 07:53:02 pm »

So, what does Halloween have in common with Valentine's Day and Easter?

The day after, any leftover candy goes on sale.  Grin

I have a friend who calls February 15th "Half-Priced Candy Day!"
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« Reply #73 on: October 31, 2018, 06:43:56 pm »

This topic has some fascinating info!
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