Sunday, October 19, 2008

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. 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 and direction during the long, dark winter.

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. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thanks, Bec! That is a great second movie... This can be a movie-thon ... What are some of the other great -ween movies? And what dates work?

Monday, October 06, 2008

It is my favorite time of the year again! Anyone up for a movie night?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Has anyone seen the new HBO series True Blood? It is a real treat... mixing racial issues with homo-phobia issues, with all kinds of hate crimes in the context of what if vampires came out of the coffin (out into the open). There are so many plays on issues from religious extremest, to equal rights activist... I have enjoyed myself watching it... It shows the best and more often the worst we can be to each other... mostly over our on fears, but rationalized with traditions or faith or dogma... I am sure those that need to see it will not watch it, but I am enjoying it very much.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I am going to ask a loaded question...

What about the 2000+ years of man before the God of the Bible? I know man was around longer than 2000BC... but what about their souls...spirits...beliefs...and here comes the loaded part... their gods?

I know the Bible says Jesus' death forgave all the sins of man that came before.... they had no knowledge of our God nor our heaven. In the bible it also says we should have no gods before God... which means it is building on the belief in other gods to start with...and many places in the bible reference other religions of the time... meaning it is building our religion on what came before. The bible compares Christianity by saying it is the true and only religion to these other faiths and followings of the ancient times. I know, many of you are already pulling up quotes from the Bible to explain away all these questions... save your time. I did not go to seminary school for 2 and 1/2 years not to know that for every point in the Bible there is at least another verse to counter it. (many times 10 or more) I am looking for what makes one religion more valid than another, one faith stronger than the next, and if the gods and faiths that came before are not real than why include their gods character (s) into the stories in our Bible?

Again with the loaded part, and why the proof you are so sure of does not translate over into the many different beliefs and churches of Christianity... which is the true one... Baptist, Catholic, LDS (Latter Day Saints)... the list goes on and on....

This is what happens when you unpack and find an old study bible with lots of long forgotten notes poking out of it at midnight under a new moon.... burning questions (pardon the pun)