Sunday, October 31, 2010

Origin of Halloween (Part 7)

Well, it looks as though today is Halloween, All Hollow's Eve, Samhain... It seems as if the whole world has taken time off to celebrate this holiday. Well actually, they have, but it's amazing how nearly every society has taken ahold of Halloween so seemingly easily. How could people of such distance and different walks of life just decide "this is the date we celebrate the dead"? Now, I may be getting ahead of myself a little, but I think it's a good idea to take some time and actually think about this one.

In Mexico, they celebrate the annual Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), on November 2nd or All Souls' Day in Catholic tradition. But they didn't just decide to take up this new celebration when the Spanish conquered their lands. No, in fact, this festival was already widely celebrated among the Aztec tribes of Mexico at this time, and had been around for hundreds of years. Why this date though?

On November 15, China used to set flower shaped lanterns in a stream or river at sundown, giving offerings to deceased whose wandering spirits may return at night to visit. This also shows some resemblance to the Samhain tradition of putting food outside their doors, and it's interesting because the dates are only 15 days apart. It seems as though there is some form of tradition in every pocket of the world that has a "Day of the Dead" so to speak, but why is that?

This is a quote from the book The Worship of the Dead, where it points to this particular origin: "The mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge (or a great flood)... The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time. This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, the seventeenth day of the second month - the month nearly corresponding with our November."

Now, if that doesn't give you chills about ancient history and coincidences, nothing will, until maybe my post tomorrow, but for those of you who aren't familiar with the Deluge or the Great Flood, here's a brief recap of what the Bible has to say: The people of the earth were growing increasingly wicked, and very few lived their lives according to God's laws. He became angry at them, and he told Noah (a faithful worshipper of Him) to build what was called an ark (a large ship that could hold plenty of people and provisions. Noah began to warn the people of earth that God would cause a great flood to wipe out man, and start anew afterwards. God had him gather many animals from around the world and take them into his ark in pairs of 2s and others in 7s. The humans chose to disobey God's warning he sent through Noah, so only he and his family survived the Great Flood that came on the "seventeenth day of the second month." It is believed by many that all life today originated from those 8 humans.

All other humans died that day according to Mosaic account, but it's interesting to think about how all these celebrations of the dead from all corners of the earth revolve around or are on that date in time in which all those people died during the great flood. Commemorating, and worshipping, those for whom the Mosaic account says that God condemned. Food for thought.


Now, the past 6 days I chose to post only about Halloweens direct relations to the past taking a step by step approach toward the celebration we have today. But today, on the other hand, I chose to look into it's supposed past rather than on facts alone. This quote from the book the Worship of the Dead, is just a quote, and cannot necessarily be proven true, BUT, it does bring out rather incredible connections between today and thousands of years ago, based on the mythologies of many societies. If the celebrations do indeed date all the way back to Noah and a great flood, that would be unbelievable, making Halloween the longest living (and thriving) celebration in human history. But first, it must be proven if the events of the deluge ever actually took place. ;)

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