Tomb Trippin' is a web series hosted by Jim Hanks that focuses on "reanimating" some of the forgotten stories of American history that can be found buried in graveyards across the country. Come with us as we delve into the past and bring to history to life.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from Tomb Trippin'

So many cultures for so many centuries have celebrated this magical eve in a myriad of ways.
Halloween goes by the names:
  • All Hallowe’en 
  • All Hallows Eve 
  • All Saints Eve
It is the eve of  the Western Christian church's feast of All Hallows Day and the eve of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)  in Latin culture (more on this tomorrow). Years ago, in France, Christians believed that one night a year the dead rose from all the church yards for what was called “the Dance Macabre, a wild and hideous carnival. In agricultural societies, it is celebrated as the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of the long cold winter.  

With all of its names and rituals, one common denominator remains––that Halloween is an evening set aside for the honoring of the dead.

• All Hallow’s Eve "is about humor and ridicule to confront the power of death. ... "Because some Western Christian denominations encouraged the abstinence from meat on All Hallows Eve, the tradition of eating certain vegetarian foods for this vigil day developed, including the consumption of apples, colcannon, cider, potato pancakes and soul cakes."
• "In 19th century Ireland, candles would be lit and prayers offered for the souls of the dead . After this, eating, drinking, and games would begin. Throughout the Gaelic and Welsh regions the festivities including fortune telling games, mostly regarding death and marriage."
"Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons.

"Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these dreadful creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved. To this day, witches, ghosts, and skeleton figures of the dead are among the favorite disguises." (
"The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits." (Traditions of Halloween

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