Wednesday Wisdom…cont…Facts about Halloween and Samhain

I am going to be lazy and start off with a article first…

10 fun facts you didn’t know about Halloween – USA Today:
Meghan Tankersley
Editor OCTOBER 31, 2019

Long there has been debate whether or not Christianity “stole” Samhain and made it a holiday called Halloween. When large numbers of Irish people emigrated to the United States after the Great Famine in the 19th century, they carried their Christian-Pagan tradition with them, which lead to the popularity of Halloween in America today.

Jack o’lantern” comes from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack. The story goes, that Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him, but Jack didn’t want to pay for the drink, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of buying the drink, he pocketed the coin and kept it close to a silver cross in his house, preventing the devil from taking shape again. He promised to let the devil go as long as he would leave Jack alone for a year – and that if Jack died, the devil wouldn’t claim his soul. After a year, Jack tricked the devil again to leave him alone and not claim his soul. When Jack died, God didn’t want such a conniving person in heaven and the devil, true to his word, would not allow him into hell. Jack was sent off into the night with only a burning coal to light his path. He placed the coal inside a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since.

People in Ireland and Scotland began creating their own creations of Jack’s lanterns out of turnips, beets and potatoes. The tradition traveled to the United States along with the immigrants and people began to use pumpkins, native to North America, for the lanterns instead. Some say though that in Samhain tradition, they really used human heads!

It was believed that phantoms walked the earth on the night of Samhain, so people would dress up in costumes in an effort to repel the spirits.

In the eighth century, in an effort to spread Christianity, Pope Gregory III decreed November 1 as All Saints’ Day and incorporated some of the rituals of Samhain.

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Samhain was one of four major Celtic seasonal festivals, along with Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh, which occurred around 2000 years ago.

Trick-or-treating was inspired by the medieval English tradition of “souling,” which involved children going door-to-door on All Souls Day, offering prayers for residents’ deceased loved ones in exchange for food.

The fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia.

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