Halloween beans for you to brew while you’re slowly eating your way through your pillowcase full o’ bonbons.
Centuries ago in the British Isles, Christians would ask God for protection from all worldly evils on November 1, which came to be known as All Hallows Day. This practice spread far and wide throughout Europe.
[Aside: Do you remember the title of the final Harry Potter book? The word “hallows” in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows refers to relics, and what better relics are there than those from the beginnings of time and the origins of religions?]
All Hallows Day celebrates Christian saints – real people believed to have led extraordinarily good lives and have, thus, been recognized by the Catholic Church. While churches in North America celebrate this day with only special masses on the first of November, in many countries, All Saints’ Day, as it is now called, is a special holiday. It’s so special, in fact, that it is marked by overnight vigils in cemeteries all over the world. Although this may seem macabre to some, it’s actually a beautiful, unifying, and time-honoured event for many others.
And this whole concept of honouring and praying for the dearly departed doesn’t end on November 1: the next day is also another day of importance, for it is All Souls’ Day. On November 2, many cultures gather together at cemeteries again, leaving flowers and candles on graves, or pouring holy water over them. It is a day during which people remember their loved ones and pray for the souls of all of who have gone before them.
So how does this all tie in to Halloween? Halloween (also written as Hallowe’en) comes from October 31 being All Hallows Eve. All Hallows Eve (Halloween), All Hallows Day (All Saints’ Day), and All Souls’ Day are called the triduum of Allhallowtide.
Do you celebrate any part of Allhallowtide? Please share. I’d love to hear about your cultural and familial traditions!