At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

HALLOWE'EN

If you scroll back to our previous Hallowe'en entries, starting a year ago, you'll find details of Hallowe'en.  However, we would like to remind readers that, despite what they may have read, it was never the feast of a death-god named Samhain.  This piece of fiction first appears in a book by Charles Vallency (1731-1812).



Samhain is the word for a Celtic feast held on the first of November.  Its possible meaning is "end of summer".  The night before, 31st October, was called Oiche Shamhna (Irish)/Oidhche Shamhna (Scottish Gaelic), meaning the Night of Samhain.  At this season the doors between this world and the Otherworld, including the realm of the dead, were believed to be open.  Ghosts and fairies were about.  In other Celtic regions it was called Calan Gaeaf (Wales), Kalan Gwav (Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (Brittany).  In England it was largely unknown until introduced from America in modern times.



The Latin rite of the Catholic Church, doubtless to lessen the feeling of change when Christianity arrived, held All Saints' Day (All Hallows) on November 1st, while Oiche Shamhna was called the All Hallows' Eve (Hallowe'en).



In Mexico there was a feast called the Day of the Dead, which was inherited from the Native Americans, but moved from its original date by the Catholic Church to coincide with Hallowe'en, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2nd). 

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