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What is Halloween all in aid of anyway

October 30, 2011

This last weekend has been all about pumpkins and halloween. But why? What’s the point?

I understand the religious celebrations of Christmas and Easter (although the egg thing has got a bit out of hand), and I understand (to some extent) the whole bonfire palaver. But I just don’t get Halloween. Here’s what it’s all about from the ever reliable Wikipedia:

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)”. The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles is derived from Old Irish and means roughly “summer’s end”.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English folk lore: “Certainly Samhain was a time for festive gatherings, and medieval Irish texts and later Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore use it as a setting for supernatural encounters, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times, or that pagan religious ceremonies were held.”

The Irish myths which mention Samhain were written in the 10th and 11th centuries by Christian monks. This is around 200 years after the Catholic church inaugurated All Saints Day and at least 400 years after Ireland became Christian.

I could understand celebrating the end of summer, but why in the form of random fancy dress. Given all of the challenges facing us with the whole 7 billion population thing, wasting so much food on a pointless celebration seems all the more ridiculous.


14:30 crisps, dip, pasty
19:30 bread dip crisps

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