01 November, 2010

A Halloween History Lesson

The semester before I did my internship, I was observing at a local high school in world history classes. I thought this would be good for me because my knowledge of world history (and how to teach it) was/is severely lacking. Just as I thought, I learned a thing or two. If you didn't know this, teachers learn so much more simply because they have to teach. I always learned something new while I was teaching.

Anyway. I was observing during the fall semester and just happened to be observing on Halloween. Teenagers all hopped up on candy and dressed up...yay. I did find it interesting how the teacher I was observing managed to tie in history to a holiday like Halloween. He showed video from the History Channel: The History of Halloween. I'm not sure if the kids enjoyed it that much (if they were even paying attention), but I certainly did. I had no idea the history of Halloween - where it started and why.

Halloween was known to the Celtics (A group of people who lived in England before it was England. Years later, it was referred to as Brittania and then later became England when the Anglos and Saxons joined forces.) as Samhain. They believed that one night a year, October 31, spirits were able to roam free on the earth. Ancestors were welcomed and honored, but some evil spirits also roamed about. The evil spirits were warded off by --- wait for it --- wearing masks and costumes.

Are you surprised?!

Tomorrow is All Saint's Day, for Catholics {correct me if I'm wrong; my sources say different things}. It is a day when the Saints are honored and recognized for their deeds here on earth. I read somewhere {can't remember where now, of course} that going to houses and requesting food originated with All Saint's Day. If this is true, it seems to me like two things have been meshed together, the way they often seem to be.

Christmas -- Winter Solstice (Thanks, Constantine.)
Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- Easter (Thanks again to Constantine and the Roman Church.)
All Saint's Day [also Reformation Day - Martin Luther, 1517] -- Halloween

Concerning Halloween, some people say that devil worship and acts in his name take place. I suppose it is possible, but given the history of the "holiday" - if you want to call it that - I wouldn't necessarily say that it's an evil day. It's definitely not a Christian day though. It's anything but.

This is where I have a hard time... To celebrate or not celebrate?

I always dressed up and went trick-or-treating as a kid. Every year until I was a teenager. My brother and I enjoyed dressing up and getting candy. What kid doesn't?! When we were old enough, we'd watch vampire movies with my mom. We always knew that Halloween was just a time to play dress up. It wasn't real... There were no such things as ghosts, goblins, vampires, werewolves, etc. We were brought up in church and my brother and I both knew Jesus at an early age. We went to activities at church, when there were activities.

Joe's family did not celebrate it. One day, this is going to come up. He's not really against it - he dressed up as a vampire when we were in college - but the question is do we expose our kids to that? I haven't decided yet. We've still got a while, but it's still something to think about. We'll see, I guess!!

I do have to say that it was kind of fun to hand out candy to kids. I ran out of candy super early, though. 3 bags does not last long in a military community! One little boy went as Optimus Prime. Personally, I thought that was pretty cool. =) He was cute, too. He took off his mask and introduced himself. Super, super cute. I also saw Batman with his mom... She was wearing an Army PT shirt, the orange safety belt, dog tags {I could SEE them! Big no-no.}, and denim shorts. I guess Batman's mom doesn't like standard PT uniform? ;-) I thought later that maybe she wasn't attempting to dress up and just wore the orange belt so people could see her. In that case, serious props to that mom.


In other news, Mrs. S is having like the best giveaway ever! She teamed up with a fellow blogger/jewelry maker and is giving away a super-cute milspouse necklace of your choice! Seriously, I have wanted to have one of these necklaces forever! I'm not excited about this or anything. =) So, if you'd like to enter the giveaway head over to Mrs. S's blog and check it out!

Hope y'all had a good [and safe] weekend!


Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I think if you're just a kid and dressing up for fun then it's ok. I was the same way as a child.

Kelli said...

We don't celebrate halloween anymore. We did for a few years when we just had my son, but we recently stopped because we too started learning more about the history of Halloween. I also wrote a post about it, you can read it here if you are interested =)

Holly said...

I'm not a new follower, but I am pretty recent, and Ive enjoyed reading your blog. I almost didn't read this one though. I respect your religion, thank you so much for respecting mine and not writing some trash "Halloween is evil/Satan" blog. I really appreciate it. If you want to know more, you can always ask. But if you google for truth don't go to any Christan sites.