All Hallows Eve

Today is Halloween. Boo!

All Hallows Eve is just what it implies, the eve of All Hallows Day or as it is better known to us, All Saints Day, November 1st. It is the day when the saints of the church are celebrated in a special mass, the Hallowmas or All Hallows Mass. “Hallows” is the old English word for saints.

“All Hallows’ Eve grew out of the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, meaning Summer’s End. The festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “dark half” of the year.

Celts believed that on Samhain,  the walls between our world and the spirit world became thin enough to allow ghosts to pass through and damage their crops. To mark the event, people would build huge bonfires to burn crops and give animal sacrifices to the gods. Huge feasts would be held and people would try and tell each other’s fortunes. All Hallows’ Eve began in the eight century as a Christianized version of Samhain. Christians would honor saints and pray for souls who had not yet reached heaven.

Halloween costumes date back to ancient Samhain celebrations, where Druids would dress up in costumes of animal heads and skins. Around the turn of the first millennium, the church began to celebrate All Souls’ Day on November 2. 

During festivities, the poor would visit the houses of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the homeowners’ dead relatives, a practice known as souling. This evolved into guising – where young people in Scotland and Ireland would dress up in costume and perform songs, poems or jokes in exchange for fruit and nut.  The tradition was broght to the US by immigrants in the early 1900s, where it became known as trick-or-treating.”
This is from an article written by Reiss Smith, entitled, “What is All Hallows’ Eve? Why do people celebrate Halloween today?”

Leave a Reply