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Primus Pilus

Ancient Pagan Holidays

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Just from general study of ancient history, we can see the connection between most of the ancient festivals and those major holidays that still exist today. As Halloween is soon to arrive and is among the few ancient rituals that was not truly taken over by Christianity, would anyone care to discuss its ancient origin and how it transformed into the current state?

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Interesting, I didn't know that Haloween was of pagan origin. Thank you for the information, I'll have to look into it now. Good to know that the christians didn't change all the holidays. Do you know any good places to start on the subject?

 

I'm not as well taught in Roman Holidays as I am in other areas. It would be most helpful. Once again, thanks. Now to google....

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As Samhain is the quintessential Celtic pagan holiday, I was hoping some of the Celtic types on here would speak out. Demson, FatBoy, are they still around?

 

Also, any Catholics want to give us a briefing on All Souls Day?

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I think most Christian holidays are pagan, are they not? Could this be related to Moonmaiden's topic on 'Council of Nicaea' and the apparant amalgamation of paganism and Christianity in the fourth century?

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Samhain is the day when the veil between the worlds is thin, meaning that spirits are afoot in this earth realm...and some may cross over to the spirit realm.

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Also, any Catholics want to give us a briefing on All Souls Day?

 

well, i am catholic and the only significance that day for me has is that each year, i have to march on a very coold and misty day to the cemetary. Not a pleasant day imo....

 

cheers

viggen

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The wikipedia article is nice. I already knew the basics of Samhain, but the bit about the elf Blots in Germanic polytheism was new to me.

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As Samhain is the quintessential Celtic pagan holiday, I was hoping some of the Celtic types on here would speak out. Demson, FatBoy, are they still around?

 

Also, any Catholics want to give us a briefing on All Souls Day?

 

i'm catholic

and all souls day is the day before all saints day

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lol, some of my mates here think All Saints day is a celebration of the National Rugby League team, the St George Illawarra Dragons :)

I don't know very much about holidays descending from pagans though. I do know that in Greece and some other areas of Eastern Europe, tuesday is too this day considered an unlucky day, because that was the day Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.

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i'm catholic

and all souls day is the day before all saints day

 

 

 

I was hoping for a little more detail and scholarship. :-)

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We discuss religion here all the time. As long as the discussion is kept academic rather than as commandment to convert, I don't think the mature and civil people of this site will have any problems with it.

 

 

******

 

 

On another note....

 

Samhain as seen by a modern Celt, the origins of the holiday and relevance to modern Halloween.

 

http://www.imbas.org/articles/samhain.html

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Demson, FatBoy, are they still around?

 

Hullo Ursus! :D Well I've been AWOL for a bit but I suppose this is as good an excuse as any to poke my nose in again. Unfortunate that I've nothing remotely interesting to say about Halloween though. :P

 

I started to write something, but that Wikipedia article pretty much sums it all up.

 

lol, yeah, those Wikipedia articles are just too damn informative. Theres nothing like the facts to ruin a perfectly good discussion. Theres something discouraging about having ones half baked theories contradicted before you even start.

 

So my first contribution on my return is to call for Wikipedia links to be banned from the forums! The fun part is not the definitive answers but the things you discover and the tangents you can embark on while trying to get there. Far better to plunder such articles liberally and then present them as your own carefully thought through conclusions. :D

 

Well, nah, Wikipedia's great for giving the lowdown on subjects such as this. With many of the topics on this site of the interperative or "what if" variety theres plenty of room usually for argument and discussion. Besides in regards to some of the dustier corners of Roman History, there is often more info bouncing around peoples heads at this site than is printed elsewhere on the web.

 

For want of anything worthwhile to contribute, I'll share with y'all why I think it is that I don't like this time of year so much.

When I was 17 or so I was heading out to a nightclub one halloween. Well I spent so long dolling myself up like a prat in front of the mirror that I was running late to catch the bus I needed to get. So I set off running, flapping along in a pair of unforgivable shiny black slip on shoes.

After ten minutes of uncomfortable jogging ( for like every halloween, it was raining, windy and cold ) I turned the corner from where I could see the bus stop. It hadn't left yet and I was probably going to make it as long as I cut accross the field in front of me instead of going around it. Well it was just a regular field with a tarmac path running through it at the far end, I had cut accross it a thousand times - a few splashes of mud on my trousers maybe, no big problem. So off I went.

So I'm happily splashing my way accross the field, confident I'm going to catch that bus. It was all good until about 1/2 a second from the little path when I noticed through the almost pitch darkness that, well.. it wasn't there. Apparently overnight evil halloween spirits ( or more likely Dublin County Council ) had dug the bloody thing up. What was there was a humongous ditch, 4 foot deep with maybe another couple of feet worth of muddy horribleness at the bottom.

Well the only thing in my favour was the fact that the sides were sloped, so with no question of stopping, pelting along as I was, and the whole thing, slopes included, being maybe 10 foot wide and thoroughly unjumpable, the only thing I could do was accelerate into the slope and kind of bound through the ditch.

Well, I managed this well enough, I careered down the slope, leapt into the ditch, made two huge jumping step type maunuvres through the knee deep gunk, and managed to keep enough momentum to make it up the slope at the other side, popping out on the surface just a couple of yards from the bus stop. The thing was, the bloody thing had sucked off both my shoes and improbably, one of my socks, while coating me liberally in mud from head to toe.

Of course I didn't notice this, I was just chuffed at having made it to the bus stop at all, so I padded over to the bus, now full and preparing to depart, and began fumbling for change at the open door. It was when I looked up I noticed that the driver was looking at me with a mixture of fear and disbelief. I turned my head and saw that the entire bus was similarly agog, staring open mouthed at the dishevelled, shoeless individual who it seemed intended to board their bus.

Now you wouldn't think that sight would be all that shocking, after all dishevelled, shoeless individuals are not so uncommon in Dublin. It was a friend of mine, who had been sitting on the bus ( and thoroughly enjoyed the whole incident ) who explained to me the full effect of this on the passengers.

Apparenty he had, along with many of the passengers, been staring disinterestedly out the window waiting for the bus to depart, when barely 10 yards away to an audiable gasp of horror and astonishment from the passengers around him, from beneath the earth sprung forth a man, dressed in what appeared to be funeral attire ( hey, t'was the fashion at the time ), caked in mud and shoeless, who immediately sprinted directly at them with a wild, hunted look in his eyes.

For all the world it looked as if the dead had risen and were intent on catching the 15C to College Street. lol.

So anyway, hillarious as it was for my mate, I wasn't all that amused at the time. All I knew was, after a quick scan of my condition, that I was in no condition to go out on the town. On my miserable way home, trudging barefooted through the driving wind and rain, mud caked and incredulous, I decided that I'm never going out on Halloween again.

Halloween owes me a pair of shoes and I'm not taking part again until I'm reimbursed.

 

Ummm...anyway, yeah , just thinking about that weather, and how it seems to be like that every year, maybe gives an inkling into how the theme of evil spirits and the dead and such has so resiliently attached itself to the various incarnations of the festivals held at this time of year.

If the weather in the rest of Northern Europe has down the Centuries been anything like Irelands today, then it would certainly have set the mood.

Every year around the time of Halloween we get buckets of rain, wild thunderstorms and gales, coupled with a darkness at night time which seems to be somehow darker than at any other time of year. If you did believe in spirits and such, you would be sure that they are feeling pretty frisky.

It also seems extra cold around this time too, but this may be due to the fact that, having never reconciled ourselves properly to the fact that we live on an exposed rock halway to the arctic circle, we insist on walking around in summer clothes until well after it is practical ;) . I suppose it could be the contrast with summer which makes it seem so bad though, the weather changing so suddenly for the worst around this time.

 

As far as an actual contribution to the subject, the only thing I came across which I didnt see covered in the Wikipedia article was the earth shattering fact that Pumpkins are indigenous to America, which I guess emphasises the relatively modern nature of the Halloween festival we celebrate today. Although apparently it simply superceeded the use of the clearly inferior turnip as a source of hollowed out Halloween tomfoolery.

Not much of a return really, but I suppose I learnt something new about pumpkins.

 

Anyway, thats enough utter rubbish from me ( sorry, just feeling a bit obtuse today ). Guess I'll catch up on some threads and attempt to make some proper contributions.

 

Cheers!

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