Day of the Dead Costumes are quite popular…

so is the celebration.   Part 2

 

Day of the Dead Costumes

Day of the Dead Costumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But where did it come from?

Let’s take a closer look.
Many people may not know it but mostly the Halloween celebration is observed in the United States and Canada.

 
However, that is soon to be changed as Halloween is rapidly spreading world wide. In many places it is known by a different name or observed on a different day of the year. Most people observe it on October 31 of each year.

 
Different names? Yes…..just a few are: Asia…Bon Festival :Africa…Dance of the Hooded Egunguns :South America…Kawsasqanchis :North America…Day of the Dead or Halloween :Europe it is also known as Day of the Dead along with a slightly different variation of Halloween.

 
Going into the “Encyclopedia of American Folklore” it states that Halloween is integrally related to the prospect of contact with spiritual forces, many of which threaten or frighten people who choose to have contact with them.

 
When we think about the Halloween observance, we can clearly see that it has roots that go far, far into the past. To many historians and knowledgeable people, it is recognized as Devil worship or  Pagan,  in the sense that there were groups of people that out and out chose to worship the Devil along with its trappings.

Day of the Dead Beginnings

Way back in the 400′s (on the Gregorian calendar) , the pagan group know by the name of  Celts, would celebrate the Samhain around the end of the month of Oct. That is the time when , according to their thinking, ghosts, goblins, devils and demons will come to the earth and have contact with humans.

Child's Day of the Dead celebration mask

Child’s Day of the Dead celebration mask

But Why October 31 ?  Bear with me here, You’ll see why!

Rather interesting too, is that in the Bible account of the flood of Noah’s days , this flood began around the end of Oct.  Now if a person reads carefully, we see that in Genesis chap 6, speaks about angels or sons of God that had sexual relations with women on earth, producing children that were huge and unusually strong.

 

FYI:  This is where all the stories come from about the Greek gods that visited the earth to fight, rape, and kill humans.  In this way,  making them  (humans) subject to their desires.

 

However, according to the Genesis account,  the offspring of these bad angels died in the flood.  Since these bad angels were at one time spirits, they just went back into the spirit realm when the flood waters began to pour down.

 
With that in mind, we can see why they are so much more active during that time of the year. They are reminded of their “children” that were drowned in the flood many years earlier.

 
It also explains why these demon gods are in connection with women spiritualists rather than men. They have a abnormal interest in sexual activities with women, just like before the flood.

And yes, this has to do with the Day of the Dead.

After the Celts custom of observing the Samhain,  the Romans adopted it after the conquest of  the Celts  in the first century.  Many centuries later, in the 600′s or so, a pope of the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed a new celebration.

Celebrants  at Day of the Dead Festival

Celebrants at Day of the Dead Festival

It was to be called “All Saints Day” to give honor and homage to the dead “martyrs” they honored.

Another name for this same celebration is “All Hallows’ Day” which likewise, was a day to give honor to the dead “saints.”

The night before the All Hallows Day,  was referred to as “All Hallow Even” meaning the “evening before”  All Hallows’ Day.

Hallowed is an old world word that means ‘saint.’ You could even call it All Saints Day  and still be correct.

So the evening before All Hallows’ Day was called All Hallow Even or All Hallow Evening. But as languages are known to do, and are constantly changing,  it did not take long before it was shortened to Halloween.

 
Then around the year 1000 C.E. the month of November came into the act. November 2nd was now to be called All Souls’ Day to commemorate the dead. But were not those who died in the flood of Noah’s day actually executed by God for their bad conduct? That being said, why give glory to ones that were bad?

Hmmmmmm…I’ve often wondered about this.  Anyone have a comment on this?   If so, then leave it below.

It was not until around the 700′s C.E. that the actual word of “Halloween” came into printed materials. In the 1800′s when the immigrants from Ireland moved to the U.S. they brought all these customs and traditions with them. Like the Jack O Lantern in my previous blog in part 1.

Because of the ‘melting pot’ of people converging into the United States, coming in from all around the world and bringing in their versions of the Halloween celebration, it began to change.  People began adopting various parts of  these other beliefs and pretty much, came up with their own more localized version.

Local version of NOLAHalloween Day of the Dead dance

Local version of NOLAHalloween Day of the Dead dance

Thousands of people came from Africa, Germany, Great Britain and many , many other parts of the world to add to this popular celebration.  It became a “major holiday” in Mexico.

Now, entering into the 1900′s, Halloween became a national holiday for all to observe in the U.S. and right on into our time era, the 21st century.

 

Businesses Take Advantage of Sales

Businesses Take Advantage of Sales

And, Of course, big business has gotten into this act and  made a fortune on the products it pushes on consumers to buy, which includes 100’s of varieties of Day of the Dead costumes.

But what other traditions are there that came from pagan backgrounds? How about candy? Vampires, zombies, witches, werewolves and so on?

Do you know how these came about?  You do?  Then leave me a comment below because I certainly do not know everything.

Ever hear of Wiccans?   Perhaps you know of them.  Leave me a comment below.

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Written by :   Tom McDaniel