Notes from the Waxhaws

All Hallow’s Eve

with 2 comments

No witches or hobgoblins are welcome here tonight. Although there are some bats flitting around in the gloaming…and a hoot owl calling from somewhere in the woods…this is a hallowed vigil here in the Carolina countryside on this cold evening. On the front porch…a candle…and a sprig of needlepoint holly…

Holly Berries

From a lovely description of All Hallow’s Eve by Mary Reed Newland (Newland was Sharon’s maiden name)…

“It was in the eighth century that the Church appointed a special date for the feast of All Saints, followed by a day in honor of her soon-to-be saints, the feast of All Souls. She chose this time of year, it is supposed, because in her part of the world it was the time of barrenness on the earth. The harvest was in, the summer done, the world brown and drab and mindful of death. Snow had not yet descended to comfort and hide the bony trees or blackened fields; so with little effort man could look about and see a meditation on death and life hereafter.”

“Apparently how you spent the vigil of All Saints depended on where you lived in Christendom. In Brittany the night was solemn and without a trace of merriment. On their “night of the dead” and for forty-eight hours thereafter, the Bretons believed the poor souls were liberated from Purgatory and were free to visit their old homes. The vigil for the souls, as well as the saints, had to be kept on this night because of course the two days were consecutive feasts — and a vigil is never kept on a feast.”

“The berries of red and their use have their origin ‘way back when holly and evergreens bearing red berries were used to remind the Christians of the blood of Christ and the burning love of Mary for her Child.”

So…tonight…no tricks…no treats. Just a solitary candle in the darkness…a sprig of holly…and a fervent prayer in my heart.

Written by Jim

October 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Nice, Jim and I learned something new.

    Patti Grace

    November 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm

  2. Patti…this is indeed a strange road upon which we travel. Thanks for sharing the journey…


    November 4, 2011 at 9:22 pm

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