Freitag, 31. Oktober 2014

Samhain – Halloween – All Hallows – All Souls’ Day



The word “Halloween” is the shortened form of “All Hallows’ Eve(n)” and means “the evening before All Hallows”.


Already in the Jewish tradition to which the Christian tradition follows in that point, the days last from sunset to sunset, and Holidays begin in the evening; for example that is the case at the Christmas Eve. Therefore All Hollows (1st November) begins with the sunset of 31 October.


The tradition of this feast has different roots:


The most Celtic traditions connect Halloween with Samhain, the old Celtic New Year’s feast. Samhain means “end of summer” and was celebrated at the end of October when the weather started to become cold. The Celts, which were as a society traceable since about 800 BC, brought with the cold snap the herds of animals (sheep and cattle) from the hills to the vicinity oh their dwellings. Furthermore at that time there were more changes in the course of the year: The last harvest was gathered and they stayed at home for the wintertime and followed up some handicraft activities. The Celts celebrated their feasts like many other religions mainly at the turning points of the life and the year and attributed to them even spiritual and magical meanings. They believed Samhain to be a very special turning point and that at that time of the year the gates between the worlds are open, meaning that the dead leave the otherworld at Samhain and visit the world of the living.


The Christian tradition commemorated their dead from the beginning. It proceeds from the idea that especially those who leaded a peculiar model life of faith are after their death as hallows very near to God. This is the memorial day of all the many hallows who in the course of the year don’t have an own memorial day. Because of the proximity of time All Hallows was originally celebrated in May, and only in the 9th century the date was adjourned to the 1st November. Initially it was celebrated independently of Samhain traditions, but at the end oh the 10th century the church honoured the relation to Samhain and introduced the feast All Souls’ Day, the memorial day of all dead, for the 2nd November.


In my opinion the thoughts behind this feast find a good expression in the song “Gott muss ein Seemann sein” (God has to be a seaman) of the German band Santiano: Here God is compared with a seaman who cares for his crew and never betrays it. All souls are in his good hands. Therefor stand the candles which are placed from a lot of people during that night in their windows. This is an old custom, which traces back to the Celts: It should originally guarantee that the dead who wander in that night between the worlds find the right house to visit their families. Today we place these candles usually at All Hollows at the cemetery, far away from our dwellings. Tonight I place a candle in my window to bring back to my mind that even for me the dead are not lost, but accompany my life. Their ways may sometimes have stayed enigmatic, but nevertheless they crossed our ways and partly accompanied them for a long time.





Look around you the world is ours,
Release your fear and your worries
Here are you free, free, free
Every cruise is like a new day.


Hold your hand into the nippy floods
And you feel a force so big
Here are we free, free, free,
Apart into the eternity.


God has to be a seaman,
Nobody gets lost
Nobody gets lost
He never leaves the crew alone.
God has to be a seaman.


God has to be a seaman,
Nobody gets lost
Nobody gets lost
The devil will never run us out.
God has to be a seaman.


Let us set out with the first rays,
Let’s set out when the west wind roars,
Then are we free, free, free,
Straight out into the world.


Where the waves reach out for the sky,
In the distance we are at home,
Because we are free, free, free,
Apart into the eternity.


God has to be a seaman,
Nobody gets lost
Nobody gets lost
He never leaves the crew alone.
God has to be a seaman.


God has to be a seaman,
Nobody gets lost
Nobody gets lost
The devil will never run us out.
God has to be a seaman.


Video resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiLYlflGpvE

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