The Origins of Halloween.

Many people think that Halloween is a festival of evil, where the aim is to scare people by dressing up in very scary costumes, or what I find more bizarre is the whole “trick or treat” notion. Everyday we tell our kids not to take sweets or candies from strangers, come 31 October we turn the world upside down and say “Go out children, fear not and go to those stranger’s houses and ask them for treats”

However that is not what Halloween is really about.

Halloween 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, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

Samain or Samuin was the name of the festival (feis) marking the beginning of winter in Gaelic Ireland. It is attested in the earliest Old Irish literature, which dates from the 10th century onward.

Samhain had three distinct elements. Firstly, it was an important fire festival, celebrated over the evening of 31 October and throughout the following day.

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. The flames of old fires had to be extinguished and ceremonially re-lit by druids.

It was also a festival not unlike the modern New Year’s Day in that it carried the notion of casting out the old and moving into the new.

To our pagan ancestors it marked the end of the pastoral cycle – a time when all the crops would have been gathered and placed in storage for the long winter ahead and when livestock would be brought in from the fields and selected for slaughter or breeding.

But it was also, as the last day of the year, the time when the souls of the departed would return to their former homes and when potentially malevolent spirits were released from the Otherworld and were visible to mankind.

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 during the long, dark winter.

The early pagan holiday of Samhain involved a lot of ritualistic ceremonies to connect to spirits, as the Celts were polytheistic. While there isn’t a lot of detail known about these celebrations, many believe the Celts celebrated in costume ,basically , they were likely as simple as animal hides, as a disguise against ghosts, enjoyed special feasts, and made lanterns by hollowing out gourds.

The Celts also set out gifts of food, hoping to win the favor of the spirits of those who had died in the past year. They also disguised themselves so the spirits of the dead wouldn’t recognize them.

By the 9th century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, church-sanctioned holiday. Over time, as Christianity took over and the pagan undertones of the holiday were lessened, the basic traditions of the holiday remained a part of pop culture every year; they simply evolved and modernized.

The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word Hallowe’en means “Saints’ evening”. It comes from a Gaelic term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day).

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween. Some of these games originated as divination rituals or ways of foretelling one’s future, especially regarding death, marriage and children. During the Middle Ages, these rituals were done by a “rare few” in rural communities as they were considered to be “deadly serious” practices. In recent centuries, these divination games have been “a common feature of the household festivities” in Ireland and Britain. They often involve apples and hazelnuts. In Celtic mythology, apples were strongly associated with the Otherworld and immortality, while hazelnuts were associated with divine wisdom. Some also suggest that they derive from Roman practices in celebration of Pomona.

The following activities were a common feature of Halloween in Ireland and Britain during the 17th–20th centuries. Some have become more widespread and continue to be popular today. One common game is apple bobbing or dunking , in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use only their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. A variant of dunking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drive the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a sticky face. Another once-popular game involves hanging a small wooden rod from the ceiling at head height, with a lit candle on one end and an apple hanging from the other. The rod is spun round and everyone takes turns to try to catch the apple with their teeth.

Many people were said to dress up as saints and recite songs or verses door to door. Children would also go door to door asking for “soul cakes,” a treat similar to biscuits. Technical note: Soul cakes originated as part of the All Souls’ Day holiday on November 2 , but eventually became a part of Halloween night as the concept evolved into trick-or-treating. The candy-grabbing concept also became mainstream in the U.S. in the early to mid-1900s, during which families would provide treats to children in hopes that they would be immune to any holiday pranks.

How trick-or-treating became a tradition


But how did those Celtic traditions evolve into one of children trick-or-treating in costumes for fun and candy—not for safety from spirits?

According to the fifth edition of Holiday Symbols and Customs, in as early as the 16th century, it was customary in England for those who were poor to go begging on All Souls’ Day, and children eventually took over the custom. At the time, it was popular to give children cakes with crosses on top called “soul cakes” in exchange for prayers on your behalf.

Lisa Morton, author of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween, traced one of the earliest mentions of typical Halloween celebrations to a letter from Queen Victoria about spending Halloween around a bonfire in Scotland in 1869.

“Having made the circuit of the Castle,” the letter said, “the remainder of the torches were thrown in a pile at the south-west corner, thus forming a large bonfire, which was speedily augmented with other combustibles until it formed a burning mass of huge proportions, round which dancing was spiritedly carried on.”

Morton writes that people in the American middle class often were anxious to imitate their British cousins, which would explain a short story printed in 1870 that painted Halloween as an English holiday celebrated by children with fortune-telling and games to win treats.

However, Morton writes that it’s possible that trick-or-treating may be a more recent tradition that, surprisingly, may have been inspired by Christmas.

A popular 18th- and 19th-century Christmas custom called belsnickling in the eastern areas of the U.S. and Canada was similar to trick-or-treating: Groups of costumed participants would go from house to house to perform small tricks in exchange for food and drink. Some belsnicklers even deliberately frightened young children at houses before asking if they had been good enough to earn a treat. And other early descriptions say that those handing out treats had to guess the identities of the disguised revelers, giving food to anyone they couldn’t identify.

In the 19th century, “tricks”—such as rattling windows and tying doors shut—were often made to look as though supernatural forces had conjured them. Some people offered candy as a way to protect their homes from pranksters, who might wreak havoc by disassembling farm equipment and reassembling it on a rooftop. By the early 20th century, some property owners had even begun to fight back and lawmakers encouraged communities to keep children in check with wholesome fun.

These pranks likely gave rise to the use of the phrase “trick-or-treat.” Barry Popik, an etymologist, traced the earliest usage of the phrase in connection with Halloween to a 1927 Alberta newspaper article reporting on pranksters demanding “trick or treat” at houses.

So you see there is a lot more to Halloween then just getting dressed up, trick or treating or Jamie Lee Curtis being chased by Michael Myers.

sources

https://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/origin-of-Halloween.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/the-history-of-trick-or-treating-and-how-it-became-a-halloween-tradition

https://www.countryliving.com/entertaining/a40250/heres-why-we-really-celebrate-halloween/

https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

Nanne Zwiep- Died for speaking his mind.

It is very easy to judge in retrospect. It is true that the Dutch could have and should have done more for their Jewish neighbours. However when even speaking out about the Nazi regime could get you arrested and even killed, it is understandable that people were reluctant to act, To be honest I would have second thoughts .

Nanne Zwiep was a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in the town of Enschede. On Sunday 19 April 1942, during a sermon in church he spoke out against the Nazi regime and the persecution of Jews.

The following day he was arrested and after 5 months of interrogation in prison in Arnhem and Amersfoort he was transported to Dachau. On 24 November 1942, two months after his arrival at the camp, he died of exhaustion and malnutrition.

It had not been the 1st time he had spoke out against the Nazis . After an act of sabotage, the cutting of cables, the Nazis raided the town of Enschede on the night of 13/14 September 1941 where about 100 Jews were arrested as a retribution and were deported to Mauthausen, within a few weeks 64 of them were murdered.

Immediately after the raid the clergy of the churches in Enschede got together to voice their protest and demanded the release of the Jewish prisoners. Pastor Zwiep was sent as a representative of the clergy men to deliver the letter of protest in the Hague, to General Friedrich Christiansen. the supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands. The protest was ignored.

After the death of Jewish Surgeon Julius van Dam in December 1941, Pastor Zwiep did not hold back his criticism about the Nazi regime in the Netherlands, he was convinced that the death of Surgeon Julius van Dam was caused by the terror committed to the Jews in the Netherlands.

His sermon on April 19,1942 must have been the last straw for the Nazi regime.

He died in Dachau on November 24,1942 because he voiced his opinion, not because he suggested to take up arms or endorses violent protests, no he only voiced his opinion and that was enough reason to be killed.

On May 1, 1945 the biggest scout group was named after Pastor Zwiep in his honour and to this day still carries his name.

Ending this blog with a quote by Pastor Zwiep.

“One conquers small things with humour and big things with faith”

Sources

https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/58791/Memorial-Nanne-Zwiep.htm

Donation

I believe it is very important to keep history alive, but unfortunately that is not free. However I will not ask to pay for subscription , but if you want to donate it is very much appreciated, but only of you can

$2.00

The Aryan Jesus.

Church

The Christian churches in the third reich and also outside the third reich had 3 approaches to the Nazis policies.

  1. They rejected the policies and actively resisted it.Churches like Confessing Church. and men like Dietrich Bonnhoefer. Or the catholic priest Hugh O’Flaherty resisted the Nazis and their ideologies and actively resisted the Nazi regime.
  2. They were indifferent and turned a blind eye to what was happening around them, often in plain sight. They just lived their lives as if nothing happened.
  3. They endorsed the Nazi ideology.Movements like “the German Christians” aligned themselves  towards the antisemitic, racist and Führerprinzip( leader principle, the notion that some “gifted individuals” were destined to rule, the term was first coined by philosopher Hermann von Keyserling)  ideological principles of NazismDC

As a Christian myself I am especially ashamed of the last 2 groups, and although the indifference of the 2nd group can partially be explained that the indifference was borne out of fear, it doesn’t make it better. Although it is often misquoted it is appropriate in this context ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’

The 3rd group were plainly as evil as the Nazis themselves, they may not have been involved in actual killings but they created an atmosphere which made it look okay to kill Jews.

In 1939 with the majority of  the German Protestant churches agreeing to it, the Eisenacher “Institute for Research and the Elimination of Jewish influence on German Church Life” was founded, led by Walter Grundmann.It was officially opened in the Wartburg in Eisenach on May 6, 1939.

institute

One of the institutes  main tasks was to compile a “People’s Testament” in the sense of what Alfred Rosenberg called a “Fifth Gospel”, to announce the myth of the “Aryan Jesus”.

The institute produced a “dejewified” New Testament entitled “Die Botschaft Gottes” (God’s Message), in which all references to the Old Testament were deleted in 1941. The catechism “Deutsche mit Gott” (Germans with God), which included a revised version of the Ten Commandments, was published that same year.

Removing all Jewish references from the bible and portraying Jesus as a Nordic Aryan figure of course made it easier for some people to solve an internal conflict they may have had  in mistreating their Jewish neighbors.

Georg Bertram, professor of New Testament at the University of Giessen, who was the head of the Institute from 1943 until the Institute’s dissolution in May 1945, wrote about its goals in March 1944: “‘This war is Jewry’s war against Europe.

Whereas nearly the entire Protestant and Catholic church bore a share of responsibility for the crimes against  the Jews by remaining silent about the Nuremberg Laws and the Kristall Nacht and other pogroms  as well as officially helping issue “certificates of Aryan descent”, the institute in Eisenach was guilty of complicity in the Holocaust.

Even though It is a hard truth for me as a Christian to face , a truth it is nevertheless.

altar

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

 

Good Friday-The other 2 crucifictions

rezhim_razboynika

Like most of my blogs I try to steer away from politics and religion this blog will be no exception to that.Although it may appear to be a religious blog, i is really about the historical event of the crucifixion.

Good Friday is one of the key days in the Christian calendar, it is the day where Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross. However he was not alone that day. There were 2 other men next to him on Golgotha.

TRE4_1-16

Dismas and Gestas are the names often mentioned as the two thieves crucified on crosses to the right and left of Jesus. In the New Testament accounts of the crucifixion, two men are mentioned, yet their names are never given. The names Dismas and Gestas do not come from the New Testament, but are taken from a pseudepigraphal book not included in the New Testament canon. As a result, whether Dismas and Gestas were the true names of the two men crucified at the time of Jesus is unknown.

The names Dismas and Gestas are first found in the apocryphal writing entitled “The Gospel of Nicodemus” that historians typically agree was written in the 4th century. Since this document was written over two centuries after the events and is found in a book containing other disputable information, few argue that much certainty can be attached the these two specific names.

Finally, it should be mentioned that Dismas (sometimes spelled Dysmas) was the name associated with the good thief who asked Jesus to remember him in paradise, while Gestas was the one who taunted Jesus along with the crowd.

I am a Christian but I think this blog will appeal to anyone who has an interest in history, for whether you believe in Jesus or not, fact is he is a pivotal historical figure.

Cavalry

 

 

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

Sources

Got Questions