Death and Dying Research Paper

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Layout: Halloween: Then Now, & In Between

Thesis:

Every year the seasons change. Every year October comes and goes. Beginning with the Celt’s celebrating the end of the year with past spirits, the Romans celebrating the goddess of orchards, Pomona, to the Christians celebrating Saints day, Halloween is a diverse deathly day. All Hallows Eve, The Vigil of Samhain, and Feast of Pomona are the ancient names for the calendar day of October 31st, the day currently known as Halloween throughout most of the world. Whether a person practices religion or not, Halloween exists in some form; furthermore, it may be loved or may be feared either way Halloween has occurred for centuries and it will continue to occur throughout societies around the world.

I. History
a. Celts
i. Festival of Samhain
1. Samhain – (Sow-win) Celtic word for “summers end” a. Thought to be the day that dead deceased souls return to Earth. b. Celtic priests were known as Druids. They had magical powers. Druids would build fires during the harvest to sacrifice crops and animals in return for the Druids predicting the future. c. Celts believed that when the dead walked the Earth one time a year they were choosing who dies that year. b. Romans

i. Romans invaded the Celts, and ruled them for 400 years. ii. Pomona
c. Christians
i. All Hallows Eve/All Saint’s Day

II. Traditions
a. Graveyards
i. Ghosts were thought to have danced in the graveyards on Halloween. If a person encountered a ghost it was a warning that death was coming. b. Black and Orange
i. Black means night/evil
ii. Orange means end of harvest
c. Costumes
i. To blend in with the walking spirits, people dressed in costumes. d. Parties
i. Bonfires
1. Were believed to chase away the spirits. ii. Harvest parties
1. Cooking the food of the end of the harvest season to commence the beginning of winter. e. Trick – or – Treating
i. Door to Door asking for food. England- children dressed in costumes and went door-to-door asking for cakes. 1. If no cake or treat were giving, children would play a trick on the homeowner. f. Jack-o-Lanterns

i. Ireland – Protection from Evil Spirits
1. Irish man named Jack played tricks on the devil. When Jack died the heavens didn’t want, and the hell didn’t want, so he is said to wonder the earth holding a lantern to light his way. Original carved jack-o-lantern was a turnip. (Halloween – Dana Meachen Rau) g. Witches

i. Not always evil. Grew into evil. People began thinking that witches were causing disease and death. Also were thought to worship the devil. h. Black Cats
i. Celts believed evil spirits returned in the form of black cats. (Halloween – Dana Meachen Rau) ii. Witches turned into black cats. (Halloween – Dana Meachen Rau)

III. Day of the Dead
a. Mexican Holiday

IV. Halloween

a. The Now
i. Witches are no longer persecuted, as they were 100s of years ago. Wicca is now a recognized religion and practiced throughout the world, yet still feared as devil worship. ii. Commercialized Holiday – Products being sold, No one really knows the meaning behind Halloween; most children think Halloween is just a time for dressing up in costume and collecting candy. There are much less family farming, therefore, there is no need to have an end of harvest festival. iii. Adult Festivals

1. Halloween Horror Nights

iv. Trick-or-Treating Now...
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