BEGIN­NING OF THE DARK­NESS

Chat It's Fate - - Chats it's fate | Folklore -

All Hal­lows Eve on 31 Oc­to­ber came out of the Gaelic fes­ti­val of Samhain - a cel­e­bra­tion of the har­vest, when the last crops were brought in be­fore win­ter. The an­cient Celts be­lieved that, dur­ing Samhain, spir­its could pass be­tween the world of the liv­ing and the world of the dead, be­cause the veil be­tween the two worlds be­came thin and por­ous. As Chris­tian­ity spread, ab­sorb­ing pa­gan cus­toms and fes­ti­vals as it did so, by the 8th cen­tury Samhain had mor­phed into All Hal­lows Eve, the evening be­fore All Hal­lows or All Saints Day on 1 Novem­ber, dur­ing which peo­ple gave gifts to the poor and flower of­fer­ings to the de­ceased.

On All Hal­lows Eve, Me­di­ae­val house­hold­ers would bake 'soul cakes' to give to im­pov­er­ished chil­dren who would sing and say prayers for the dead. This was called 'soul­ing.' The chil­dren went door-to-door and peo­ple be­lieved that their songs and prayers helped the souls of the de­parted to pass from Pur­ga­tory into Heaven.

Protes­tants don't be­lieve in Pur­ga­tory, so dur­ing the Re­for­ma­tion of the 16th cen­tury, when the Church of Eng­land was es­tab­lished, the Catholic tra­di­tion of 'soul­ing' was abol­ished. How­ever, in 1578, the vil­lagers of Gil­ing, York­shire, broke into their lo­cal church to ring the bells. With no soul­ing to help the souls of the de­parted rest in peace, this was the only com­pro­mise they could think of!

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