Hallowe’en is truly a time for everyone to be a star actor in the performing art of costume and even mime that has marked this holiday from its very start. It did not arise full blown in the 21st century. It had historical roots in the events and performances of past rituals in past times. The idea went as far back as Roman times with Roman rites and enactments; this scary holiday had Celtic roots in Gaelic customs; then finally the church adapted it to fit the religion of the time.
Here are the facts about those historical precedents in the accompanying list.
Additonally check out the genre of Hallowe’en Carols composed by Kristen Lawrence.
These are performed by children dancing in costume:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOmNJRbPoSA&feature=share&list=UUp4l3OQcwG6FcH82b0TvfPw
Additionally Kristen Lawrence has a “Souling Song – Samhain Version” at: http://youtu.be/j35dvmdse9k
The famous Roman Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda
In ancient Rome, the dies parentales or days of the ancestors, marked the religious festival to honor family members in domestic ceremonies. Roman writer Ovid writes of sacred offerings for the dead at family tombs, that the head of each family was obliged to perform. At midnight of the last night, the evil aspects of these tombs were to be exorcised as a cleansing ritual. Also named the Parentalia, it was a yearly solemn day addressing the “kinless and hungry” spirits of the dead.
Gaelic gateway to the “OtherWorld” where spirits emerge on Samhain
The fall pre-Christian festival of Samhain, celebrated on October 31 beginning the dark half of the year, mark the time when spirits can more easily enter this world and revisit their homes. Purifying bonfires are lit, feasts are prepared, folk disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door “mumming” for food and drink. Mummers, a medieval practice, involve troupes of actors, who perform in public houses and at carnivals.
All Souls’ Day
The Roman Catholic Church began to merge in the 9th century Samhain with All Souls’ Day to eventually create the modern Halloween. The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed is a posthumous sanctification to cleanse the departed of all mortal sins so that they may enter heaven with grace. In some countries this is known as the “Day of the Dead,” and has influenced similar rituals in other faiths as well.