As a cynical Halloween-in- Salem resident, I’m recognizing the alternative commemoration days today. Halloween, Hallowe’en, or All Hallows Eve, marks the eve before All Hallows’ or All Saints’ Day, a long-standing Christian holiday commemorating the hierarchy of saints. So we have All Saints images from the past and the present. Because the Reformers preferred to recognize strict scriptural monotheism, October 31 became “Reformation Day” in Protestant areas of early modern Europe. Happy Halloween, All Hallows Eve, and Reformation Day to everyone, everywhere.
Images from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Books of Hours from the Morgan Library & Museum Collection; an Allsaints Spitalfields storefront; Reformation Day cards from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.