The Samhain (that means the “end of the summer”) is an ancient Celtic celebration from where the Halloween tradition come from. The ancient Celtic religion of the Druids celebrates the end of the summer season and the beginning of the winter. The Halloween association with the darkness is probably connected to the atmosphere of the winter months, the darkest of the year.
In the Middle Ages, when Christianity spread among the Celtic people, becoming the official religion of almost the entire Roman Empire, the Catholic Church sought in all ways to eliminate pagan cults. Pope Gregory the Great tried to lose importance and significance to the Samhain rituals by moving the Feast of All Saints from May 13 to November 1. In the Xth century. The Church also added the celebration of November 2nd, Day of the Dead, dedicated to the memory of dear deads who were celebrated by their loved ones by masquerading as Saints, Angels, and Devils.
Trick or Treat?
In Ireland, the tradition of burning torches and leaving something to eat and drink out of the door, would persduade the spirits to go away after refreshing themselves. From here the famous “Trick or Treat?”.
All Hallows … All Saints?
The Catholic Church invites us to seek the help of Saints for all our needs, as powerful intercessors in front of God’s throne. HIf we pray for all our trapassed dear ones, they can reach the Heaven by our prayers of suffrage, if they must still purify themselves in the Purgatory.
And in Italy? Let’s see how we celebrate
Indeed, even the tradition of Halloween is not so far from us in Italy. According to anthropologist Luigi Maria Lombardi Satriani in the South, the Halloween has been celebrated since the earliest times: peasants emigrated to America used to empty a pumpkin, put in a candle, thus waiting for Ognissanti’s eve to face the fear of death and the detachment of their loved ones, an anthropological reason for the need to establish a contact, a “communication” with dear deads.
In Sicily, the Commemoration of the Dead on November 2nd were celebrated in family. The parents were telling to the children to be good, so they would receive the “gifts from the deads” . The children waited them with joy and prayers for dear deads. During the night, parents used making a basket of sweets and gifts hidden throughout the house. On the morning of November 2nd, the children were getting up happy and ready to look for the gifts.
And so? Good All Saints Celebration to everyone !!!