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    Halloween Orgins and Customs

    Sunday, October 19, 2008, 12:58 AM [General]

    History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it...such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in battle, or by imitating the gods in showing cleverness and cunning.

    Their two main feasts were Beltane at the beginning of summer (May 1), and Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) at the end of the summer (Nov. 1). They believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished.

    "During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere sometimes violently, in their affairs"(Celetic Mythology, p. 127).

    The Celtic priests who carried out the rituals in the open air were called Druids, members of pagan orders in Britian, Ireland and Gaul, who generally performed their rituals by offering sacrifices, usually of crops and animals, but sometimes of humans, in order to placate the gods; ensuring that the sun would return after the winter; and frightening away all evil spirits.

    To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druid in his fight with dark powers. The term bonfire comes from the words "bone fire," literally meaning the bones of sacrificed animals, sometimes human, were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze. All fires except those of the Druids were extinguished on Samhain and householders were levied a fee to relight their holy fire which burned at their altars. During the Festival of Samhain, fires would be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would be offered to the gods on the fires. This practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy was sometimes burned instead.



    When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas which reflected a  more Christian world-view. Halloween has since become a  mixture of traditions and practices from pagan cultures and Christian tradition.

    By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. During their rule of the Cletic lands, Roman festivals were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. Another festival was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration in Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

    As the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint's Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 and for Christians, this became an opportunity for remembering before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the Christian community. Oct 31 thus became All Hallows' Eve ('hallow' means 'saint')

    In 1517, a monk named Martin Luther honored the faithful saints of the past by choosing All Saints Day (November 1) as the day to publicly charge the Church heirarchy with abandoning biblibal faith. This became known as "Reformation Day," a fitting celebration of the restoration the same biblical faith held by the saints throughout church history.

    Samhain, which was the supreme night of demonic jubilation. Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to appease these wandering spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the ghostly wanderers. If not placated, villagers feared that the spirits would kill their flocks or destroy their property.

    The problem was...if the souls of dead loved ones could return that night, so could anything else, human or not, nice or not-so-nice. The only thing the superstitious people knew to do to protect themselves on such an occasion was to masquerade as one of the demonic hoard, and hopefully blend in unnoticed among them. Wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face with soot were originally ways of hiding oneself from the spirits of the dead who might be roaming around. This is the origin of Halloween masquerading as devils, imps, ogres, and other demonic creatures.

    Others trace "trick-or-treat" to a European custom called "souling". Beggars would go from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggers would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers could guarantee a sou's passage to heaven.

    In many parts of Britian and Ireland this night used to be known as "Mischief Night", which meant that people were free to go around the village playing pranks and getting p to any kind of mischief without fear of being punished. Many of the different customs were taken to the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants in the 19th century, and they developed into "trick or treat".

    HALLOWEEN COMES TO AMERICA (to be continued)

    Please share your comments...SHOULD CHRISTIANS ADOPT THE PRACTICES about HALLOWEEN? And click on Family Traditions and Celebration and post your personal experiences.


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    Extreme Faith

    Monday, June 2, 2008, 4:02 PM [General]

    In the Bible God commanded the Israelites to "dread not," not fear their enemies (Deuteronomy 1:29). The enemy can be anything that we don't want in life, that hinders or aggravates us...we can perceive as an enemy. We are not to dread or fear anything...we are to live courageously and boldly. Today my husband and I will face the enemy. We took in a young lady two years ago and recently found out she was hiding information about her having S.T.D.'s.  She was living an addictive lifestyle for 20 years.  She came to be a volunteer in our outreach two years ago, we were told by outsiders and religious leaders that she was not one to be trusted. We approached the situation with precaution not prejudice.  I began to observe negative patterns in her daily lifestyle. She is an educated women, single, and talented, but their was glitches. She constantly makes wrong decisions and continues these patterns of behavior even though she gets negative outcome. Her pattern is always the "victim". She meditates on revenge and never commits to  approach her life experiences with a thankful attitude that she has overcome the obstacles of a 20 year addictive lifestyle.  Living constant dread has drained her faith. She is negative in just general conversations, argumentive and her attitude is negative energy to every aspect of life. Worry, fear, and dread is her only perception.

    We have become her daily personal/spiritual care providers.  Her parents and family members have given up hope...and have become frustrated with having to face the truth that they had a stranger amongst them all this time.  To add to the torment, we found out that some of her partners have died, and family members have  reported to us that their death was untimely do to contracting H.I.V. and they suspect that this young lady is the carrier. She claims during her moments of revenge she purposely cut her self and put her infected blood in the food that my husband and I were served. We have our doctors appointment today for the results of the blood test we requested. Probably one of the greatest ways to show our trust in God is by living life one day at a time. We prove our confidence in Him by enjoying today and not letting the concern of tomorrow interfere. This experience has made a big change in my preception of life. I have begin to gain insight from the Holy Spirit on this issue and on the problem of dreading things. This truth about living one day at a time greatly increased my peace. I'm learning that it really is not about the test results we are facing today that is so is the dreading that made it bad.  OUR ATTITUDES DO MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. Please learn to approach life with an "I can do whatever I need to do" attitude. THIS IS THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE, I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT. My continued prayer is that you will hold onto the joy that we are going to heaven, that we have someone who always loves us, no matter what. We all have to attend to some unpleasant details in life. We would not know what God's peace was if we never had any difficulty to go through. It is in these difficulties that we learn how valuable His peace is to us.

    Wisdom-When Your Heart Decides The Destination, Your Mind Will Design The Map To Reach It.

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    Extreme Faith

    Saturday, May 31, 2008, 11:51 PM [General]

    I'm very grateful to be alive and I love the life I live. I trust the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart.  I came to California, after surgery removing a turmor in my throat the size of a soft ball. My husband and I had been doing our "No walls" ministry for over 7 years now celebrating 12 years cross country We were asked to come and do ministering for a family church. We were not expecting the turmoil of it all. We were told that accomdations would be provided, but that did not come to fruition. We ended up homeless, we also had our oldest son with us who is handicapped. My husband went to a temp service that found him daily work which gave us enough money to get a room in one of the downtown hotels. That was occupied by drug dealers and constant night activities of all sorts. There were many days when my husband would walk to work for 5 miles, and walk back home in the middle of the night. Our son had to be placed in a emergency care home because the environment was very stressful for him. That was stressful for me to be separated from him in a strange town. My health declined were I ended up in a wheel chair for over 2 years. We eventually were able to move from the hotel to another downtown studio. The accomodations were better. The building was 3 stories, and there were over 300 families with children. Mostly low income or on disability. I can remember when we first move into the studio, we had nothing but our suitcases and I used my coat for a pillow and we slept on our clothes to try to soften the floor. The homeless people use to sneak into the building at night for shelter and they find out we were ministers and starting going to the food banks to bring me fresh vegatables and fruits to eat. That truly blessed my heart. In a small town, if you are not related to someone are political connected it can be very difficult to get help. People are very suspicious of strangers, and guard themselves from being taken advantage of...they are especially suspicous of out of town ministers, preachers, etc. So we didn't get a welcoming from any of the local churches, in fact, we were treated with hostility and resentment. Nevertheless, we were determined to trust the Lord at all times. We have had so many challenges in our 5 years of residency in California. But through it all...homeless, hungry, and rejected we now have one of the most productive outreach ministries in the county and growing. Not because of our works, but because of the God's faithfulness. God has an individualized, customized plan for your life. As you trust Him, He will bring it to pass in His timing, not yours. Waiting on God's plan and timing is wise because His ways are always best. He is the Lord of peace, and as you surrender your heart and life to Him, you will experience peace that passes understanding.

      Wisdom-Trust The Lord Of Peace 

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