Monday, November 1, 2010

More on All Hallows Eve

Of late, there has been some debate amongst my friends as to what is the origin of Halloween. My Secrets of Harry Potter co-hosts and I discussed it in our latest episode (Episode #61, Harry's Halloween).

Last night, I went to Duke University Chapel's All Hallows Eve service, which featured music sung by the Duke Vespers Ensemble under the direction of Allan Friedman. (I will post the music list a little later.) Here is an excerpt from the bulletin titled, "About All Hallows' Eve".

Tonight is the eve of All Saints Day, the festival in the Church that recalls the faith and witness of the men and women who have come before us. The service celebrates our continuing communion with them, and memorializes the recently deceased. The early church followed the Jewish custom that a new day began at sundown; thus, feasts and festivals in the church were observed beginning on the night before. The night before All Saints (or All Hallows) became known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween.

1 comment:

John C. Fowler said...

The way I've heard it, there are a number of Christian holidays timed to coincide with Pagan festival days. Apparently, a few centuries ago, the Catholic church decided it didn't like all these people worshiping Nature and wanted to offer alternative celebrations of its own instead. Over time, things got mashed and mixed up as they do, and so we now have Halloween and All Saint's Day together, and other strange holiday rituals like bringing a tree in your house on Christmas.