Category Archives: Religion

Hallowe’en 1745

Today ‘Halloween’ customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the ‘Celtic’ speaking countries, some of which have pagan roots, and others which may be rooted in ‘Celtic Christianity’. Indeed, ‘Jack Santino’, a folklorist, writes that “the sacred and the religious are a fundamental context for understanding Halloween in Northern Ireland, but there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived”.

Historian ‘Nicholas Rogers’, exploring the origins of ‘Halloween’, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain”, which comes from the ‘Old Irish’ for “summer’s end”. ‘Samhain’ was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval ‘Gaelic’ calendar and was celebrated in ‘Ireland’, ‘Scotland’ and the ‘Isle of Man’.

It was held on or about 31 October – 1 November and kindred festivals were held at the same time of year by the ‘Brittonic Celts’; for example ‘Calan Gaeaf’ (in Wales), ‘Kalan Gwav’ (in Cornwall) and ‘Kalan Goañv’ (in Brittany). ‘Samhain’ and ‘Calan Gaeaf’ are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and ‘Welsh’ literature. The names have been used by historians to refer to ‘Celtic Halloween’ customs up until the 19th century, and are still the ‘Gaelic’ and ‘Welsh’ names for ‘Halloween’.


Eastertide

It is celebrated as a single joyful feast, indeed as the “great Lord’s Day”. Each ‘Sunday’ of the season is treated as a ‘Sunday of Easter’, and, after the ‘Sunday of the Resurrection’, they are named ‘Second Sunday of Easter’, ‘Third Sunday of Easter’, etc. up to the ‘Seventh Sunday of Easter’, while the whole fifty-day period concludes with ‘Pentecost Sunday’.

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Christian Advent

The ‘Christmas’ season, also called the holiday season especially in the ‘United States’ and ‘Canada’, the festive season, or simply the holidays, is an annually recurring period recognized in many ‘Western’ and ‘Western-influenced’ countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January, defined as incorporating at least ‘Christmas’ and usually ‘New Year’, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. Originally, the term “Christmas season” was considered synonymous with ‘Christmastide’, a term itself derived from ‘Yuletide’, which runs from December 25 ‘Christmas Day’ to January 6 ‘Epiphany’, popularly known as the ’12 Days of Christmas’.

Beginning in the mid-20th century, as the Christian-associated ‘Christmas’ holiday became increasingly secularized and central to ‘American’ economics and culture while religio-multicultural sensitivity rose, generic references to the season that omitted the word “Christmas” became more common in the corporate and public sphere of the ‘United States’, which has caused a semantics controversy that continues to the present.

The tradition of celebrating the birth of ‘Christ’ on the 25th of December appears to date from the 4th century when ‘Christianity’ was adopted as the official religion of the ‘Roman Empire’. In the ‘Christian’ tradition the ‘Christmas’ season is a period beginning on ‘Christmas Day’ 25 December. In some churches the season continues until the day before the ‘Epiphany’, which is celebrated either on 6 January or on the Sunday between 2 and 8 January. In other churches it continues until the feast of the ‘Baptism of the Lord’, which falls on the sunday following the ‘Epiphany’, or on the monday following the ‘Epiphany’ if the ‘Epiphany’ is moved to 7 or 8 January.

In the United States the holiday season “is generally considered to begin with the day after Thanksgiving and end after New Year’s Day”.

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Ēostre Sunday

The ‘New Testament’ teaches that the resurrection of ‘Jesus’, which ‘Easter’ celebrates, is a foundation of the ‘Christian faith’.

‘Easter’ or ‘Resurrection Sunday’ celebrating the resurrection of ‘Jesus Christ’ from the dead described in the ‘New Testament’ three days after his crucifixion at ‘Calvary’, called ‘Holy Week’ contains the days of the ‘Easter Triduum’ commemorating the crucifixion and death of ‘Jesus’, ‘Easter’ is linked to the ‘Jewish Passover’ by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar.

In many languages, the words for ‘Easter’ and ‘Passover’ are identical or very similar ‘Easter’ is linked to the ‘Passover’ and ‘Exodus’ from ‘Egypt’ recorded in the ‘Old Testament’ through the ‘Last Supper’ and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection.

‘Christians’, through faith in the working of ‘God’ are spiritually resurrected with ‘Jesus’ so that they may walk in a new way of life.