In Part 1 of this series, we traced our current Halloween tradition back to it’s probable origin, the Celtic Harvest festival of Samhain. We also broached the topic of the conflict of beliefs among various Christian sects: the Puritans did not celebrate holidays at all, but on the other hand, Anglican Christians of the time did acknowledge the holiday of All Hallow’s Eve on their religious calendar.
We will use this segment to really delve into the way Christians celebrated Halloween in the beginning, when we knew it as “All Saints Day”, or “All Souls Day”. Eventually, we will bring our minds forth the present and learn how Halloween is celebrated today. But first, it’s time to hop into our time machine and visit the early Christians who celebrated this controversial holiday.
Halloween, or “All Hallows Eve“ falls just before “All Hallow’s Day”, a Christian holy day. Logically, if “All Hallow’s Day” is on November 1st, “All Hallow’s Eve” is the day before: October 31st. November 2nd marked the Christian holy day of “All Soul’s Day”. These three holy days culminate into what is known as “Allhallowtide“, a triduum. Wiki defines Allhallowtide as, “… a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians.” That’s still a long way from bobbing for apples, but let’s research this further.
The breakdown of the word “Allhallowtide” is an interesting one. Again, we learn from Wiki:
“The word Allhallowtide was first used in 1471 and is derived from two words: the Old English word halig, meaning ‘saint’ and the word tide meaning ‘time’ or ‘season’. …The words ‘hallow’ and ‘saint’ are synonyms.”
Now we can see why “Halloween” has so many different aliases. Also, at the moment as I research this information, I am struck by how so far, Halloween seems to be a Christian religious holiday. Or maybe I should split hairs and say that Allhallowtide is a Christian religious holiday? Like you, I want to know if I’m supporting the devil or not by allowing my kids to partake in Halloween festivities, so we’ll continue to keep an open mind.
Allhallowtide is still celebrated worldwide, especially in Poland, Spain, the Philippines, and some parts of America. This day is used to especially honor Christians who died but were not canonized–when the Roman Catholic Church declares that a person is a saint– and therefore do not have a special ‘feast day’. Let’s break Allhallowtide down into its three holy days and learn how each is observed. We will do this in our next segment.
Up to this point, I hope that you are gaining some insight into this contentious holiday. Like an onion, this particular holiday seems to have many layers. Tears notwithstanding, I would say we’re learning a lot.
CJ Heath has never thought much about Halloween, other than sampling candies her kiddos bring home and drumming up ideas for how to dress up Dottie. She is learning a lot through her research for these articles, and hopes that you are, too.