U.C.M. Newsletter of Joy, Humor, Laughter, and Inspiration
Editor: Rev. Doti Boon
Vol. 9 pg. 43 (10-28-10)
On Halloween, when the veil is thin between the two worlds,
I acknowledge those who have gone before.
In honor of Samhain and Day of the Dead
Samhain Two thousand years ago in the Celtic lands of present day France, Ireland and Great Britain, what we now call Halloween was known as Samhain (pronounced SAW-wan, or Saw-en). The New Year festival Samhain Day itself (which went from sunset to sunset) did not belong to either the outgoing year or the incoming year. Instead it was a special day outside of time.
On Samhain, the world of the living was considered to be in close connect with the spiritual world of departed ancestors and supernatural forces. This closeness was symbolized by the donning of costumes and by communal rites to celebrate the harvest (the life force), invoke good fortune and ward off evil.
As Christianity began to supplant the old, earth-related religion that evolved from Celtic and Pagan spirituality, it changed some of its holidays, customs and symbols. Samhain was Christianized into All Hallowed’s Day, or All Saints’ Day. A day to honor the departed – especially all saints without a special name day of their own. Also like Samhain, celebrants would go from house to house on the eve of the Holiday (Hallowed Eve) to receive food (soul cakes) and they would also make bonfires to “defeat darkness with light.” This has become our modern day Halloween.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, western patriarchal culture, fueled by the fear of women, (especially older, independent women) promoted a monster known as the Witch. And some Pagans find the classic Halloween caricature of the Crone to be deeply offensive. Others just smile.
Frequent crop failures, famines, global weather changes as well as injustice, poverty, warfare, scandals, torture, imprisonment without trial, abuse of power, and political unrest haunted Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
This is an ancient festivity that has been much transformed through the years, but which was intended in prehispanic Mexico to celebrate children and the dead. Hence, the best way to describe this Mexican holiday is to say that it is a time when Mexican families remember their dead, and the continuity of life.
Two important things to know about the Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) are:
1. It is a holiday with a complex history, and therefore its observance varies quite a bit by region and by degree of urbanization.
2. It is not a morbid occasion, but rather a festive time.
In the Aztec calendar, this ritual fell roughly at the end of the Gregorian month of July and the beginning of August, but in the post conquest era it was moved by Spanish priests so that it coincided with the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve (in Spanish: “Día de Todos Santos”). This was a vain effort to transform the observance from a profane to a Christian celebration. The result is that Mexicans now celebrate the Day of the Dead during the first two days of November, rather than at the beginning of summer. But remember the dead they still do, and the modern festivity is characterized by the traditional Mexican blend of ancient aboriginal and introduced Christian features.
Witch figure was used to blame ‘the other’ for their problems. During this period, professional Witch Finders were paid for every witch they found. Any money, property and animals owned by these witches (mostly older, usually widow women) enriched the town and the church after their deaths. This Witch business was very profitable.
Medieval and Renaissance cultures in the West used non-Christians, cats and old women as the focus for fear and blame. When Pagans say “Never again the Burning Times” they mean they will not allow ignorance to scapegoat or harm again.
Sia Vogel – Copyright 2007 – by permission.
On this, the night of Hallow’s Eve
We keep a festive mood;
We dress in colorful costumes
And sample sweetened food
And as a jack-o’lantern’s face
Lights friends to our front door,
We toast those near
Or far from us,
And say a silent prayer to bless
those dear, departed souls
Who have gone before.
Wishing you a fantastic weekend, full of ghosts, goblins, candy and goodies. Be careful of Trick or Treaters!
A passenger in a taxi leaned forward, and tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.
For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver said, “I’m sorry but you scared the crap out of me.”
The frightened passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn’t realize just a tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.
The driver replied, “No, no, I’m sorry, it’s entirely my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 25 years.”
Here are some real Halloween Moaners!
What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
“Do you believe in people?”
What do you call someone who puts poison in a person’s corn flakes?
A cereal killer
What kinds of streets do zombies like the best?
Dead end streets
Why did the game warden arrest the ghost?
He didn’t have a haunting license
Who was the most famous French skeleton?