Myths, Monsters & Devils
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Halloween: Myths, Monsters & Devils
There are many myths, feasts and feats associated with Halloween. The festival is often considered to open up darker side of human beings. In parts of Britain and Ireland, the Halloween night was also known as the 'Mischief Night'. People were free to go around the village playing pranks without the fear of being punished. There are many myths associated with Halloween, Vandalism, destruction and wickedness being the prime ones. Most of these have some roots in the practise of animal and human sacrifice followed by the Pagans. However, most of the Halloween tradition is pure celebration marked with bonfire, parties, harmless pranks and costume parties.
Traditionally, bats, cats, owls and other nocturnal animals were considered symbols of Halloween. They were feared, as people believed that these creatures had the power to communicate with the dead spirits. Black cats were considered reincarnations with the ability to predict future. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that witches had the power to transform into black cats.
However, there is nothing evil or devilish associated with Halloween. The original Samhian festival from the Celtic period celebrated it as a reunion with ancestors, as they believed their ancestors joined them in rejoice during celebrations. It was believed that the gates between the two worlds opened and dead friends and family crossed over in either direction. People who feared the encounter were the ones who had done something wrong and feared retaliation. It is popularly believed that the dead roamed the earth after dying until the next Samhain. In Mexico, Halloween is known as Los dias de los Muertos or the “Days of the Dead’’. People make skeleton and skull toys and candies.
The Celts did not actually practice demonic system. It is often mistaken that Halloween was a festival in which the Celts sacrificed animals and human beings to the demonic or spiritual form of god. The Celts are known to be nature worshippers and believers. They had no faith in gods, monsters, devils, witches, spirits, and elves, but at the same time these were not considered evil and harmful. The fairies were often considered hostile and menacing to humans because they were seen as being resentful of men taking over their lands. It is believed that on the night of Samhain, the fairies would trick humans into getting lost in the fairy mounds, where they would be trapped forever.
Folk tradition tells us of some divination practices associated with Samhain. Among the most common were divinations dealing with marriage, weather, and the coming fortunes for the year. These were performed using practises like ducking for apples and apple peeling. Ducking for apples was a marriage divination. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. Apple peeling was a divination to see how long your life would be. A popular custom in Scotland, people would place stones or nuts in the ashes of the hearth before retiring for the night. Anyone whose stone had been disturbed during the night was forecast to die during the next year.
Halloween did not originate as a satanic festival, but it was essentially religious, or rather spiritual in nature Halloween’s association with Satanic worship is a modern myth. The Celts, as mentioned above didn't worship the devil.
Pagans are people who believe in more than one god. It is also a myth that that virgin princesses were offered to the lord of death on Halloween. The Celts continued with their ceremonies until they were conquered by the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics brought with them their own customs and traditions.
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