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October 31, 2010

Hallowe'en recalls ancient Catholic, Celtic fests


Hallowe'en ghoulToday is Hallowe’en, more properly expressed as All Hallows’ Eve. It’s the evening before All Saints (or Hallows) Day, designated by the Roman Catholic pope in A.D. 835 to honor all the saints.

Before that, this was a “cross-quarter day,” the mid-way point between the autumn equinox and winter solstice. It fell around the date of the Celtic observance of Samhain, or “summer’s end,” when cold and darkness were spreading, plants were dying and the wall between the living and the dead grew thin.

(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum 2008)  

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition


The original All Saint's Day fell on the Saturday after Pentecost and led the church year into the summer festivals of the Peter and Paul, ending with the Assumption in August. The Roman Church changes its calendar in the ninth century to combat the Celtic new year of Samhain. It later would switch its new year from Advent to January 1st to combat the popularity of the Germanic new year, with customs similar to Samhain, preserved in banging pots etc around Scandinavia to this day. The Eastern Churches retain All Saints in June but have added a Liturgy for the dead in October on the Saturday closest to the feast of St. Demetrios on October 26. Many Orthodox parishes have a fall party with kids dressing up as saints around this time to give Orthodox Christian kids something to have fun with anyway.

Never knew that Halloween marks the end of summer.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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