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Author Topic: Halloween  (Read 8866 times)

Linden

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Halloween
« on: October 30, 2010, 01:06:21 AM »
Aelfric tells us that

'November se monaþ onginþ on ealra halgena mæssedæg'
 (The month of November begins on All Saints' day)
and indeed, since Christian times, 'halga'  means saint and 'halig' applies to the Christian concept of 'holy'.

But Bede tells us

"On ðæm nigoþan monþe on geare biþ xxx daga se monaþ hatte on leden septembris and on ure geþeode haligmonaþ for ðon ðe ure yldran ða ða hi hæðene wæron on ðam monþe hi guldon hiora deofolgeldum"
(In the ninth month in the year there are thirty days. The month is called in Latin September, and in our language holy month, because our ancestors, when they were heathen, sacrificed to their idols in that month)
So 'halig' in pre-Christian times meant something different. 


Since the 24 hour periods of the Anglo-Saxons were calculated from the evening, October the 31st evening would have been the beginning (eve) of All Saints' day.

So the Anglo-Saxons, in Christian times had a sort of 'Halloween' - the eve of the feast day of all saint's (which is followed in the Christian calendar by All Souls' Day - November 2nd)

Given that the Christians adopted/adapted so many pagan customs, it is likely that - as for the Celtic tradition of 'Samhain' - the pagan Anglo-Saxons also celebrated 'Halloween' and that it had something to do with honouring/placating the dead and the turn of the year into its darker half.  Is anything more known of this?  Before the pagan calendar was influenced by the Christian calendar, would haligmonaþ have been connected to 'Halloween'?
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Karen Carlson

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 09:51:58 PM »
There may be no evidence pertaining directly to the Anglo-Saxons.  But in other Germanic heathen cultures Disiblot (honoring the goddesses/guardian female spirits/female ancestors) is celebrated at Winter Nights, around this time of year.  This is certainly the case with many modern Asatru folk in America today, and I believe it has some reasonable historical basis.

Karen

peter horn

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2010, 09:52:23 AM »
There is often confusion between the celtic and AS festivals. Matt, under 'education' on the main website describes briefy the AS festivals.

celtic festivals
samhain 31 oct
imbolc  31 jan
beltain  1 may
lughnasadh   31 july
(celtic festivals seem to have been ignored by christians and therefroe not 'messed about' as in the case of the AS festivals)

AS festivals
main one Geola (Yule) midwinter
eostre  march Easter
midsummer  Litha
halig monath sept (Harvest festival time later)
(Mid winter and easter were in particular altered by christianity of course.
Midsummer -info largely lost.

The year was divided up differently by celtic & AS




Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

Karen Carlson

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2010, 09:26:19 PM »
Swain Wodening (writer on and practitioner of Anglo-Saxon heathenism) addressed this question in his blog - see entry for October 23.

Karen

Linden

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2010, 09:55:12 PM »
Swain Wodening (writer on and practitioner of Anglo-Saxon heathenism) addressed this question in his blog - see entry for October 23.

Karen

Thanks Karen - very interesting.  I wonder whether the 'soul-cakes' have any link to Bede and his 'solmonaþ' -which he states to be February but which is apparently named after little cakes given to the gods? (An extremely 'moveable feast' perhaps ;D ;D ;D)
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

peter horn

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 12:00:42 PM »
The halloween celebrations, as imported from America, seem to be taking over from traditional Bonfire night.
We were amazed at the long queues, mostly young people, for over the top black costumes and grotesque masks.
I dont think many of them are aware that it all stems, in some strange way, from a Celtic festival
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AElfrida

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 02:46:57 PM »
Opening the front door to wouldbe small blackmailers on the night of "halloween", dressed in Iron Age clothing and greeting them with "Happy New Year!" is MOST rewarding!! ;D

peter horn

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2010, 07:15:45 PM »
Opening the front door to wouldbe small blackmailers on the night of "halloween", dressed in Iron Age clothing and greeting them with "Happy New Year!" is MOST rewarding!! ;D

why do you dress in iron age clothing rather than AS clothing?
Peter
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AElfrida

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2010, 11:33:27 AM »
Because my elder son, Dru, has had us celebrating all the ancient pagan festivals, using only food available in Iron Age Britain for some eight years - long before my interest in the Anglosaxons.  I now participate in both Iron Age British and Anglosaxon living history events. :)

peter horn

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Re: Halloween
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 04:11:34 PM »
Because my elder son, Dru, has had us celebrating all the ancient pagan festivals, using only food available in Iron Age Britain for some eight years - long before my interest in the Anglosaxons.  I now participate in both Iron Age British and Anglosaxon living history events. :)

I understand. Sounds very interesting.
Peter
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Ic ∂æt ær dyde