Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Origins of Halloween

Ever wondered about the origin of this spooky holiday? Here's an excerpt from the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, which is available at Holman Library through the Gale Virtual Reference Library to the Green River College Community. GVRL contains the full text contents of hundreds of excellent subject encyclopedias. It's a great source for background information on just about any topic. Be safe, and have a fun Halloween!

"Many historians believe that Halloween has its origins as early as the fifth century BCE in the Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of harvest and acknowledged the thin line between life and death. Theories differ as to the meaning behind the disguises and pranks that became associated with the celebration, but some historians believe they were intended to confuse and distract the spirits of the dead thought to roam the world on Samhain. The Catholic Church, seeking to suppress indigenous religious practices, reinvented Samhain as All Saints' Day, which was established on November 1; the day before it became All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe'en."

Source: Gianoulis, Tina. "Halloween." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Thomas Riggs. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013. 597-598. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

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