Alternative Halloween

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.

7 responses to “Alternative Halloween

  • Bernadette

    Happy Halloween to you too! Lovely images again,are they sewing machines I see in the store window?

    • daseger

      Yes, Bernadette. I irreverently snuck in a photo of an Allsaints store just because of the name, but they have the most amazing steampunkish stores full of old typewriters and other early Industrial artifacts. It’s a chain based in London, and they have stores in the US but not sure about Dublin. Happy Halloween to you as well.

  • Bernadette

    Yes I thought I recognized the name from London, what I remember is the area of Spitalfields in the East end of London , the site of the original old Spitalfields market which originated in the 17th century, there are still lots of markets there today.Never heard of the chain of shops by that name, and I’m sure there are none in Dublin. It looks like a very interesting shop judging by the window!

  • Jane Steward

    Thank you for the All Saints recognition. Yes! I’m all in favor of an alternative to the craziness here in Salem. I also note that Nov 2 is All Souls Day, a remembrance for loved ones who’ve passed on, which has meaning for me; and related to the Dia de los Meurtos. The founding of All Souls Day has an interesting legend/ story with Saint Odilio of Cluny that I found online. I can relay if you think appropr.

    • daseger

      Go for it Jane!

      • Jane Steward

        This is a good spooky tale. The legend, as revealed Damiani’s book on St Odilo of Cluny (France) :

        “A pilgrim coming from the Holy Land was cast by a terrible storm onto a desolate island. A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm from which could actually be heard the moans of the tortured souls in Purgatory. The hermit also said he heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, particulary the monks at Cluny. On his return the pilgrim informed the Abbot there,
        who then set aside Nov.2 as a day of intercession for all the souls in Purgatory,” and hence all deceased.

  • ceciliag

    Well then, and thanks to both of you, i shall celebrate All Souls day and have a good moan about the monks at the same time! excellent. much better.. I am so grateful that i live in the country tonight! c

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