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Halloween

All Saints’ Day or All Hallows’ Day, as it’s sometimes known, is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Celebrated on 1 November by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, Methodist Church, Lutheran Church and other churches. But the eve of this day is probably more well known to many as Halloween, which is a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening.

Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide. It’s supposed to be a time for remembering the dead but has, over many years, been changed and altered to become a celebration of ghouls, ghosts, vampires, witches and monsters of varying types. The ghoulish and the ghostly is now very much in ascendance and the christian celebration mostly forgotten. As with Christmas and Easter, the celebration has been hijacked by big business and turned into a money spinning celebration.

But that’s not to say it’s a bad thing, indeed, many of these christian celebrations were in fact hijacked celebrations from pagan festivities.

The practice of trick or treating has itself been hijacked from another tradition, probably dating back to the middle-ages. Children and poor adults would dress up in costumes, what used to be known as guising (hence disguising) and go door to door during Hallowmas, begging for food or money. In exchange the beggars would sing a song or say a prayer.

Knock on my door on halloween and I expect a song and dance!

Tom Kane © 2017

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