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2007-10-29 5:20 PM
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; or, more properly, the Ugly, the Good, and the rest of us.
It's approaching That Time of Year when -- of all times of the year -- people ought to be thinking about their eternal souls. Unfortunately, few do.
The time is when we have three days to consider the Ugly, the Good, and the rest of us (or 'them').
Halloween, or Hallowe'en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", also which is now known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar.
Many European cultural traditions, in particular Celtic cultures, hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent (according to, for example, Catalan mythology about witches and Irish tales of the Sídhe).
Traditional activities include Halloween festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", viewing horror films, and... "trick-or-treating".
Halloween originated from the Pagan festival Samhain, celebrated among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the western world, most commonly in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. (But not Australia, until rampant media "me-too-ism" brought it to our media about 2 years ago.)
All Saints' Day
The festival of All Saints, also sometimes known as All Saints' Day, All Hallows or Hallowmas ("hallows" meaning "saints," and "mas" meaning "Mass"), is a feast celebrated November 1 or the first Sunday after Pentecost in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Halloween is the day preceding it, and is so named because it is "The Eve of All Hallows". All Saints is also a Christian formula invoking all the faithful saints and martyrs, known or unknown.
In the Roman Catholic Church, All Saints' Day honours those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven.
All Souls' Day
In Western Christianity, All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. This day is observed in the Roman Catholic Church, churches of the Anglican Communion, and to some extent among Protestants. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is based on the doctrine that the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for mortal sins, cannot attain the beatific vision in heaven yet, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass (see Purgatory).
All Souls' Day is also known as the Feast of All Souls, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (from the Latin Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum), Defuncts' Day (in Mexico and Belgium), or Day of the Dead (in Italy).
The Western celebration of the feast falls on November 2 and follows All Saints Day, which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision.
With great thanks to relevant articles in Wikipedia.
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