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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #291  (Vol. 6, No. 42)  This edition is for the week of October 17--23, 2005.

THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"Good Night And Good Luck"
 by Mike Smith
COUCH POTATO CONFESSIONS
The Halloween Horror Picture Show 2005....Game Show Cool
 by Vinnie Blesi
THE DROW
All Hallows Eve! A Brief History of our Favorite Holiday
 by Dylan Jones
MIKE'S RANT
That Boy's Good--Good and Terrible .... Rockin' Doctor Noah Drake .... Commercials .... It's All White in the NBA .... Movie Notes....Passing On....Jaws: The Story Part 38
 by Mike Smith
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Dylan Jones

All Hallow's Eve!
A Brief History of our Favorite Holiday!
by Reverend Dylan Jones
(aka, The Drow)

(Source: Wikipedia)
The term "Halloween" derives from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before the Catholic All Saints holy day, which used to be called "All Hallows," derived from All Hallowed Souls. In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries (along with Christmas and Easter, two other traditional northern European pagan holidays) and given a Christian reinterpretation. In Mexico, All Saint's Day, following Halloween, is the Day of the Dead.

In the United Kingdom in particular, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on Halloween. The spirits supposedly rose from the dead and, in order to attract them, food was left on the doors. To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded Britain, they embellished the tradition with their own, which is the celebration of the harvest and honoring the dead. These traditions were then passed on to the United States.

Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the "liminal" times of the year when the spirit world can make contact with the natural world and when magic is most potent...

Celtic Observation of Samhain
In the Druidic religion of the ancient Celts, the new year began with the winter season of Samhain on November 1. Just as shorter days signified the start of the new year, sundown also meant the start of a new day; therefore the harvest festival began every year on the night of October 31. Druids in the British Isles would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops. And as they danced around the fires, the season of the sun would pass and the season of Samhain would begin.

When the morning of November 1 arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. These fires were intended to keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits such as "Sidhe" (pronounced "shee," most notable of which are the beán sidhe or banshees), because at this time of year it was believed that the invisible "gates" between this world and the spirit world were opened and free movement between both worlds was possible.

Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. Villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames; the word "bonfire" is thought to derive from these "bone fires." With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Hundreds of fires are still lit each year in Ireland on Halloween night.

Neopagans still celebrate the sabbat of Samhain on Halloween, as well as also taking part in secular Halloween activities.

Norse Elven Blót
In the old Norse religion and its modern revival Ásatrú, the day now known as Halloween was a blót which involved sacrifices to the elves and the blessing of food.

A poem from around 1020, the Austrfaravísur ('Eastern-journey verses') of Sigvatr Þorðarson, mentions that, as a Christian, he was refused board in a heathen household, in Sweden, because an álfablót ("elves' sacrifice") was being conducted there. However, we have no further reliable information as to what an álfablót involved, but like other blóts it probably included the offering of foods, and later Scandinavian folklore retained a tradition of sacrificing treats to the elves. From the time of year (close to the autumnal equinox) and the elves' association with fertility and the ancestors, we might assume that it had to do with the ancestor cult and the life force of the family.

"Mischief Night"
The night before Halloween, known in some areas as "Mischief Night", "Mizzie Night", "Gate Night", "Cabbage Night", "Goosie Night (Goosy, Goosey)" or "Devil's Night," is often associated with pranks or destructive activities performed by adolescents. Some of the acts range from minor vandalism to theft, or even arson. Many youths involved in mischief night would be considered too old for traditional trick-or-treating. The most common wrong-doing is toilet papering or "T.P.ing", in which people's houses, lawns, and trees are covered in toilet paper streamers.

Perhaps the most elaborate example of a Mischief Night prank was Orson Welles' radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds, originally aired on October 30, 1938. Welles' broadcast, which purported to be a live newscast detailing the invasion of the United States by Martians, was accepted as real by many listeners and created a public panic in some areas of the country.

A dialect survey begun in 1999 by Harvard University indicates that there are a number of terms for this particular day of the year, but that the vast majority (70.38%) have no special word for it.

Religious Viewpoints
The majority of Christians ascribe no doctrinal significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular entity devoted to celebrating imaginary spooks and handing out candy. The secular celebration of Halloween may loom larger in contemporary imagination than does All Saints' Day.

The mingling of Christian and pagan traditions in the development of Halloween, and its real or assumed preoccupation with evil and the supernatural, have left many modern Christians uncertain of how they should react towards the holiday. Some fundamentalist and evangelical along with many Eastern Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Jewish believers consider Halloween a pagan or Satanic holiday, and refuse to allow their children to participate. In some areas, complaints from fundamentalist Christians that the schools were endorsing a pagan religion have led the schools to stop distributing UNICEF boxes at Halloween.

Other Christians, however, continue to connect the holiday with All Saints Day. Some modern Christian churches commonly offer a "fall festival" or harvest-themed alternative to Halloween celebrations. Still other Christians hold the view that the holiday is not Satanic in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children — being taught about death and mortality actually being a valuable life lesson.

Ironically, considering that most fundamentalist sects are Protestant in nature, many Protestant denominations celebrate October 31 as Reformation Day, which commemorates the October 31, 1517 posting of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses. Many mainline churches and religious schools, particularly Lutheran ones, meld the two holidays without worrying about "Satanic influences."

That's all I have to say about that. Now go! Have fun and if you see a zombie...SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD! Or go all bad-ass and chop their head off with a butter knife, it's up to you.

"Believe it whatever you all follow, and bless the one who lives for today!"

THE DROW


"The Drow" is ©2005 by the Reverend Dylan Jones.   All graphics, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.