To kick-off MSF’s Halloween-inspired week of posts, I wanted to begin with a look into the origin of the upcoming holiday.
Halloween’s roots date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts (think Ireland 2,000 years ago) celebrated their new year on November 1st, this day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of a dark, cold time of year (winter). This dark time was also associated with death because of the large amount of loss that occurred during this long winter period. Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on the night before the New Year (October 31st). They celebrated this time by having Samhain to represent the ghosts of the dead returning to Earth. At these celebrations they made bonfires for animal sacrifices and dressed up in costumes.
By the 9th century, Christianity had spread into Celtic lands and with that came the implementation of religious holidays such as All Souls Day on November 1st, which was thought to try and replace the Celtic festival of the dead on October 31st and was celebrated in a similar fashion with bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes of saints, angels and devils. All Saints Day was also called All-hallows and the night before the traditional Samhain celebration in the Celtic religion began to be called All-hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween.
Fast forward to the interpretation we now see in America, in the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants brought the Irish and English traditions passed down from the Celts including dressing up in costumes and going door to door asking for food and money (modern day trick or treating). Back in England during All Soul’s Day parades, poor citizens would beg for food and they would be given pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.
So how does the history of Halloween relate to MSF and Monday Motivation (Spirit) specifically? Well for me, understanding the myriad of religions, customs, traditions and beliefs of people all over the world is what feeds my soul. Knowing that we are all different and have something new to offer the world makes life both interesting and inspiring.
If you only ate vanilla ice cream for the rest of your life because you didn’t know any other flavor existed, you would probably be content and lead a normal life, but think of the alternative, a life full of choices and exotic flavors, bourbon infused-vanilla with salted caramel ribbons and toasted pecans, your mind would be BLOWN.
Life is about learning and evolving and the minute you stop either one in my opinion, you’re not living a full life.
Feed your spirit by gaining knowledge about the world around you and you will start to see how full this can make your life.
I am looking forward to seeing the interpretation of this holiday next Monday and will be joining in on the festiveness with a greater appreciation from knowing a little more about how it originated.
How do you feed your spirit? Will you be celebrating All-hallows Eve?