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.