For all you history buffs, here is another look at the roots and traditions of Halloween from A Harvest and Halloween Handbook
A Harvest and Halloween History
Did you know that some scholars believe the American Pilgrims' Thanksgiving was based on Israel's Sukkot or Feast of the Tabernacles? Because many American and European traditions are based on Judeo-Christian customs, I thought you might enjoy knowing more about the roots of some of our traditions.
Sukkot was a joyous holiday celebrating the harvest, it started around 1300 B.C., when the Israelites left Egypt to return to their promised land, Canaan. This was long before the Catholic Hallomas or pagan Samhain. In modern days, this holiday is celebrated between mid September and late October. Autumn also marked the beginning of Israel's new year with Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Atonement. This national day of fasting culminated in the sacrifice of animals and a symbolic cleansing of the High Priest and Israel, teaching about the sacrifice of the Son of God for the cleansing of His people and reconciliation through Him, to God the Father.
During Israel's forty years in the wilderness, The God Jehovah, commanded His prophet Moses to set up a tabernacle, a portable temple, in which the Spirit of God could dwell as Israel worshipped God and received revelations. This tabernacle was to be the House of the Lord until they were settled in the Promised Land and could build a permanent temple. The Feast of the Tabernacles was a remembrance of God's protection of the children of Israel during their forty years in the wilderness after escaping centuries of bondage in Egypt. It also was a celebration of the freedom to worship their God. Sukkot also commemorated the harvest or in-gathering of the fruits of the year. This feast, considered the most joyful of all holidays, was celebrated for eight days.
The positive energy flowed; Israelites were under commandment to be grateful, happy, hospitable and set aside their worries. They set up, decorated and lived in booths or tents as a reminder of their time in the wilderness. They hung bough from trees adorned with fruits of the harvest that were a reminder of the kindly protection given by their God. The spirits of ancestors and patriarchs were invited to be present. Israel gave thanks, enjoyed worship, feasts, sporting events and other merry-making activities. From that time until the present, Israel looks forward to a day when "the King, the Lord of hosts" will reign on the earth and all men will live in peace and brotherhood. It was at this momentous time that Moses addressed Israel, Solomon dedicated the temple at Jerusalem and Jesus Christ declared, “I am the Light of the World."
In modern times, decorations of squash, dried corn and autumn bounty adorn Sukkot celebrations. As celebrants share and enjoy the final days of autumn in the beautiful outdoors, they are grateful for the bounteous blessings they enjoy.
Jehovah provided the opportunity to live forever with God in a state of happiness. He created the world to give God's children the opportunity to gain a physical body, be taught, tried and tested for obedience, integrity, virtue and other Godly traits. The rebellious exiled spirits were allowed to inhabit the earth to provide the necessary opposition to good, giving mankind an alternative and test. These disembodied spirits were given power to tempt, but man was given the ability to choose and to triumph.
If all good things came from God, all bad things came from Lucifer or another title, Satan, "He who lies in wait." And thus, there is opposition in all things. Physicists studying natural laws have identified opposing power or forces throughout the universe. Blessings, healing and peace come from God; the kindness of neighbors, the love of family. Anyone who had dealt with the crushing oppressions of child abuse, addictions, violence or betrayal has experienced the power of evil.
The word “Hallowe'en" comes from “All Hallows Eve," the night before “All Saints Day," “All Hallows," or “Hallomas," a Catholic holiday on November 1st. All Saints Day honors all Christian saints. Originally celebrated in the spring, the holiday was moved to autumn by Pope Gregory in 830 A.D. in an effort to replace the pagan celebration of Samhain. On All Hallows’ Day, November 1st, Catholics prayed for the souls in heaven. On November 2, All Souls’ Day, they prayed for the souls in limbo. It was believed that more prayers would speed a soul’s journey to heaven. Poor people went door-to-door offering to pray for the dead in exchange for treats; soul cakes, in a practice called “going souling”, a forerunner of modern trick-or-treating.
After God established order with peace and prosperity, Lucifer taught and tempted with his perverted doctrine. He started “churches” of pagans who broke God's Ten Commandments and practiced rituals that were in direct opposition to eternal laws.
Jesus taught love and brotherhood; pagans learned war and destruction. Israel had Sukkot, Pagans in the British Isles celebrated the harvest and new year on November 1 with the festival of Samhain. Their recorded history begins around 500 B.C. The Romans eventually occupied most of the British Isles, but they didn't go into Ireland where local customs were left undisturbed and pagan civilization thrived. Pagan priests known as Druids were said to have ties to the "Otherworld" and were second only to the king in prestige and power.
God instructed Israel to worship Him and follow His authority. He gave the priesthood and prophets to His children to heal, bless and enable them to do good in His behalf. Pagans worshipped nature, they believed they possessed powers of sorcery and divination. Legends tell of an early entity in Ireland known as Lugh, "The Shining One, " He possessed many desirable attributes; he was handsome, brilliant and athletic, a warrior, musician and sorcerer. Cities throughout Europe were named for Lugh; Leon, Spain, Leignitz, Poland and Lyon, France. Caesar stated that he was like Mercury, the Roman God of war. He helped his associates prepare for battles in which innumerable hosts of enemies were slain. Legends say he gave power to change the weather, brew drinks of forgetfulness, create invisibility cloaks and other spells and magic. Instead of seeking God's will and consulting with prophets, the pagans questioned wizards and used divination to tell the future. Lugh became a co-ruler with kings until the Celts came to Ireland and drove him underground into the "Otherworld." During the pagan celebrations on the eve of Samhain, October 31st, spirits of the dead were said to have returned from the otherworld to roam the earth. These dangerous spirits could be repelled by the heat and light of fire. This is an interesting contrast to Israel's love of ancestors and invitations to join their celebrations.
The Druids lit bonfires (bonefires) to protect themselves and their homes and burned crop, animal and human enemies, including political prisoners. When the Romans conquered the British Isles, they were disgusted by the bloody pagan sacrificial rituals and ended them (ironic because the Romans were not known for their humanitarian tendencies). They instituted their celebration of Pomona their Goddess of Harvest, which featured fortune telling, apples and nuts. The activity we know as bobbing for apples may have had its origin in the Roman festivals.
The people of rural Ireland brought their folk traditions and Halloween activities to America when they immigrated after the potato famine of the 1840’s. Either the Scots or the Irish introduced the first jack-o-lanterns; hollowed turnips with carved faces illuminated with candles. Carved pumpkins became the American jack-o-lanterns of legend. “Jack-of-the-lantern" was a trickster. When he died he could not enter heaven, but the devil didn’t want him either. He was doomed to walk the earth with a burning ember from hell placed in a turnip lantern to light his way.
In France, Halloween has not been celebrated until recently. In the autumn, the people celebrate "La Toussaint", All Saints' Day by honoring ancestors and heroes. They visit cemeteries, attend religious services and have get-togethers to enjoy harvest fruits and treats.
In Mexico and Latin American countries celebrations center around "Dia De Los Muertos," or “The Day of the Dead,” November 2nd. Family members take sugar skulls and treats to cemeteries to be placed on graves with lighted candles to welcome ancestors back to earth.
Why are they then baptized for the dead?"
People have asked how to tell the difference between an angel, a spirit and a devil appearing as an angel of light. Modern prophets have given the following counsel on the subject:
A gentleman of my acquaintance told me that his dying wife's final request was that she be baptized. As he considered how he might fulfill her desire, he remembered that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) performed proxy baptisms in behalf of the dead in their temples. The man asked the church to perform the baptism in behalf of his deceased wife.
We Are Seven
--A simple child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.
"Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said,
And wondering looked at me.
"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.
"Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the churchyard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."
"You say that two at Conway dwell,
and two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be."
Then did the little maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree."
"You run about, my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the churchyard laid,
Then ye are only five."
"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.
"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.
"And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.
"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.
"So in the churchyard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.
"And when the ground was white with snow
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."
"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little maid's reply,
"O master! we are seven."
"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
The dead are not so far away.
Download for your autumn happiness
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook
Thank you to the Deseret News for sharing my recipes including:
Thank you to the Deseret News for sharing my recipes including:
SPICY BAKED CHEESE FONDUE
Spicy Cheese Fondue with Crudités and Croutons
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut off top off a round, unsliced loaf of bread, reserve top. Hollow out the inside with a small knife, leaving a 3/4" shell. Cut remaining bread into 1 1/2" cubes. Toast as directed below.
1 24 oz. round loaf of unsliced sourdough bread
Combine with mixer
3 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated (12 oz.)
12 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 C sour cream
1 C green onions, chopped
2 (7 oz.) cans green chiles, diced (more if desired)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBSP jalapenos, chopped (optional)
Spoon into bread, replace the lid. Wrap tightly with several layers of heavy-duty foil, place on baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 1 hour, or until cheese is melted. During the last half hour of cooking; toast bread cubes. Remove bread from foil and place on a serving tray. Encircle with vegetables and toasted croutons.
Broccoli, red, yellow and green pepper strips, zucchini, celery, cauliflower, green cauliflower
Place in baking pan
1 16 oz. baguette sourdough bread, cut into 1/4" - 1/2 " slices
bread removed from bread bowl
1/2 C butter, melted
1/4 C vegetable oil
Place in oven during the last half hour the fondue bakes. Remove when crisp but not hard.
PUMPKIN PIE CAKE
Andrew votes this rich dessert better than pumpkin pie!
Preheat oven to 350°. From a box of yellow cake mix, remove one cup of dry mix and set aside for topping. Combine remaining cake mix with:
1/2 C butter, melted
Pat into bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Mix together
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 large can pumpkin
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 - 12 oz cans evaporated milk
Pour over crust. Set aside. Mix together until the texture of corn meal, sprinkle over pumpkin filling:
Reserved 1 cup of cake mix
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C chopped pecans (optional)
Bake at 350° approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or until pumpkin is set. Serve warm with vanilla bean-infused ice cream or whipped cream.
GLOW-IN-THE-DARK PUNCH BOWL
Activate two or three green glow sticks and place in a tarnished silver punchbowl or cauldron. Line punchbowl with a clear plastic bowl. Pour in Glowing Green Punch, add dry ice for a bubbly, steaming effect.
Glowing Green Punch
Pour into punchbowl equal amounts of
white grape juice
Add a couple of drops of green food coloring
When I asked my dentist what she recommended for Halloween treats, she replied "nuts and cheese." I doubt that this is what she had in mind.
This tasty toffee is a treat for munching or giving. The nuts are good for you!
Chop and toast in a 350° oven 5 – 7 minutes
1 C pecans
Set aside. Place in an 11" x 17" jelly roll pan
3 C deluxe mixed nuts (no peanuts)
Rub the inside of a large heavy pan with butter, then melt over low heat
1 1/2 C salted butter
1 1/2 C sugar
3 TBSP water
Cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved; avoid getting sugar on the sides of the pan while cooking. Wipe sides down with a wet pastry brush if necessary. When sugar is dissolved, turn heat to medium high and continue cooking to 290° or hard crack stage. Remove from heat, add
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pour over mixed nuts in baking pan. Immediately spread
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
Place an inverted 11 x 17" pan over the toffee mixture. Allow chocolate chips to melt for about 5 minutes, then using a knife or spatula, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the toffee. Sprinkle with toasted chopped almonds. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to quickly cool toffee. Break apart into chunks with a knife. Store in an airtight container.