Back in my Catholic elementary school, we were taught religion by nuns. By my time, the nuns were down to teaching just that one class. These nuns, I might add, were nowhere near as viscous as the Sisters described in the works of George Carlin and John Patrick Shanley.
One class, one of the younger nuns taught us about the origins of Halloween. November 1 is All Saints Day, she told us. So, she continued, because October 31st is the night before the feast of all the saints, it was once called All Hallow's Eve. That name was later slightly shortened to Halloween. This nun (whose name is, despite my famous memory for details, now lost to the ages, ) explained that All Hallow's Eve is the night that the spirits of all the saints walk the Earth. In all the excitement over the upcoming All Hallow's Eve, she must have forgotten to mention Halloween's pagan origins, dating back to the ancient Romans. Nonetheless, she was still able to explain where the tradition of dressing up as ghosts and such comes from. Turns out, the costumes are so that we can be like the spirits of the saints.
Even at 7 years old, I was like, "Uh-huh. Right."
I can only imagine the internal Church memo on this one.
To The Guy in Charge of Adapting Pagan Holidays Into Christian Holidays,
Re: All Hallow's Eve
Thank you for your great work on Christmas and Easter. Really nice stuff. We have had a chance to review your recent work on Halloween. Frankly, it is below par. Your ideas are "interesting" but they will never stick.
We're going to have to let you go.
- Terence Bowman
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- I am a Montreal-based actor, writer and comedian. When U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was three days old. I cried all day. My favourite books of all time are Moby Dick by Herman Melville, The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis and The Ewoks Fun Time Activity Book by Chirpa and Pamploo. I am a member of The Vestibules, On The Spot Improv and The Best Buy Battery Club. Except for the Battery Club, I've been at all this stuff for over 20 years. Enjoy my blog.