Between the stream of "Brooklyn Morning" newsletter emails, the "Holiday Bash" fliers hurriedly pressed into my hands via my more extracurricular-involved peers, and of course, the blow-up ghost gate blocking the entrance to the BC cafeteria, I can't help but feel touched (or perhaps slightly smothered) by the spirit of Halloween.
For those of you who, like me, don't know much about the holiday aside from glowing pumpkins and kids knocking on doors for candy, I did a little research about the historical origins of Halloween, or "All Hallows' Eve." Turns out, the holiday as we know it is a convergence of pagan and Christian festivals. The first was Samhain, a new year's celebration of the ancient Celts of modern-day Ireland, to mark the end of light, summer harvest days and the beginning of dark, cold winter days. They believed that on the night before Samhain- October 31st- the division between the dead and the living was blurred, and both beloved and harmful spirits could pass through from the Otherworld. Consequently, the Celts wore spooky costumes and masks to ward off evil spirits.
The holiday adopted a Christian face in the 600s, when Pope Boniface IV declared November 1st All Saints' Day (or All Hallows' Day in Middle English), a day to honor saints and martyrs. Many say that the pope was trying to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a similar festival relating to Christianity. In any case, the night before All Hallows' Day became known as All Hallows' Eve, which is where today's name- Halloween- stems from.
Now, for those of you more interested in partying than a history lesson, I suggest you check out myspace.com/s4s123 to rsvp for BC's Halloween Party, Friday night at the Student Center.
Whether you find yourself trick-or-treating this Saturday night or just hanging out with friends as on any other weekend, I hope you have as stress-free a week as possible in the midst of midterms, and a reinvigorating weekend. Enjoy the blog!
- Miriam Harari