Annie's Halloween History Page
~A Christian Perspective on the Holiday~
Reference for this page is The World Book Encyclopedia.
I have designed my pages with the 640 x 480 screen size in mind.

These Bible verses tell us that we are accountable for our actions and our choices!

"Prove all things hold fast that which is good"..........1 Thes. 5:21 KJV

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.".......Romans 12:2 KJV

"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee? But to do justly and
to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God."
~Micah 6:8~

Well I thought that I would just put up the information from the Encyclopedia about the History of Halloween along with the connection of the Celts and the Druids along with customs and other information. This will compliment the information on my main Halloween page. I have not added any opinions because the information stands alone and you can then make your own conclusions.

Please remember that all the information below is straight from the Encyclopedia!

What is Halloween?
Halloween is a festival that takes place on October 31. In the United States, children wear costumes on Halloween and go trick-or-treating. Many carve jack-o'-lanterns out of pumpkins. Halloween parties feature such activities as fortunetelling, storytelling about ghosts and witches, and bobbing for apples.

Halloween developed from ancient new year festivals and festivals of the dead. In the A.D. 800's, the Christian church established All Saints' Day on November 1 so that people could continue a festival they had celebrated before becoming Christians. The Mass said on All Saints' Day was called Allhallowmas. The evening before All Saints' Day became known as All Hallows' Eve, or All Hallow e'en.

What is the History of Halloween?
The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northern France. Their new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening.

On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires. The Druids built a huge new year's bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and possibly even human beings as sacrifices. Then each family relit its hearth fire from the new year's fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.

The Romans began the conquest of the Celts in A.D. 43 and ruled much of what is now the United Kingdom for about 400 years. During this period, two Roman autumn festivals were combined with the Celtic festival of Samhain. One of them, called Feralia, was held in late October to honor the dead. The other festival honored Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Apples probably became associated with Halloween because of this festival.

What is All Saint's Day?
All Saints' Day.
Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800's, the church established All Saints' Day on November 1. The people made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day. The Catholic church later began to honor the dead on November 2. This day became known as All Souls' Day.

Regional Halloween customs developed among various groups of Celts. In Ireland, for example, people begged for food in a parade that honored Muck Olla, a god. The leader of the parade wore a white robe and a mask made from the head of an animal. In Scotland, people paraded through fields and villages carrying torches. They lit huge bonfires on hillsides to drive away witches and other evil spirits. In Wales, every person marked a stone and put it into a bonfire. The people believed that if a person's stone was missing the next morning, he or she would die within a year.

In England, Halloween was sometimes called Nutcrack Night or Snap Apple Night. Families sat by the fire and told stories while they ate apples and nuts. On All Souls' Day, poor people went a-souling (begging). They received pastries called soulcakes in exchange for promising to say prayers for the dead.

How is Halloween Celebrated in the U.S.?
Halloween in the United States.
Many early American settlers came from England and other Celtic regions, and they brought various customs with them. But because of the strict religious beliefs of other settlers, Halloween celebrations did not become popular until the 1800's. During that period, large numbers of immigrants arrived from Ireland and Scotland and introduced their Halloween customs.

During the mid-1900's, trick-or-treating became less popular in large cities, where many neighbors did not know one another. Halloween pranks, which had once been harmless, sometimes became rowdy and destructive. Traffic accidents also became a major problem on Halloween. As a result, family parties and large community celebrations gained popularity. Today, many communities sponsor bonfires, costume parades, dances, skits, and other forms of entertainment to celebrate Halloween.

Who are the Druids and the Celts?
pronounced DROO ihdz, were the priestly, learned class among the Celts, a people of ancient Europe. The Druids were judges and lawmakers as well as priests. They led religious ceremonies, settled legal disputes, and served as leaders and advisers to their people.

Druidism, the religion of the Druids, involved the worship of many gods. The Druids regarded mistletoe and oak as sacred. They believed the soul was immortal and entered a new body after death. The Druids killed animals and possibly people as sacrifices. They studied the flights of birds and the remains of sacrificed animals to foretell the future. The Romans, who conquered much of Europe between about 300 B.C. and A.D. 100, tried to stop druidism. The religion died out after the Celts became Christians in the 400's and 500's.

During the 1600's, the descendants of the Celts became interested in their Druidic heritage. Today, several groups in Great Britain and Ireland practice what they believe to be ancient Druidism. They hold Druidic festivals at the beginning of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. A major celebration takes place at Stonehenge, a monument near Salisbury, England, that the Druids are said to have used. In Wales, festivals of music and poetry called eisteddfods (pronounced ay STEHTH vahdz) include Druidic rites.

What is a Witch?
The term witch comes from the Old English word wicca, which is derived from the Germanic root wic, meaning to bend or to turn. By using magic, a witch is believed to change or bend events. Today, the word witch can be applied to a man or a woman. In the past, male witches were also called warlocks and wizards.

What is Wicca?
Essentially, Wicca is a fertility religion that celebrates the natural world and the seasonal cycles that are central to farming societies. It acknowledges the Goddess as the feminine side of a deity called God. Witches worship both Goddess and God in various personifications, including ancient gods and goddesses. Rites are tied to the cycles of the moon, which is the symbol of the power of the Goddess, and to the seasons of the year. Religious holidays are called sabbats. There are four major sabbats: Imbolc (February 1), Beltane (April 30), Lugnasadh or Lammas (July 31), and Samhain (October 31).

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