A Brief History of Halloween

October 30, 2017

While the origins of Halloween are not entirely clear, is definitely intertwined with religious practices and celebrations of the past. Wiccan and Pagan groups are amongst largest groups who celebrate the holiday, while some Christian groups fear that demonic activity increases around this time of the year. A pre-Christian Celtic holiday called Samhain is thought by many to be the precursor to the holiday, Halloween, we celebrate today. It is difficult to completely trace its origins, as it was Christianized in the fourth or fifth century; we are unsure today what traditions and ideologies were added on because of this. Samhain was a day of heightened spiritual activity, and they believed that fairies, spirits, and souls of the dead could pass through their world to ours much easier that day. To protect themselves from these spirits and possible demons, the Celts would build massive bonfires, they would burn crops, and they wore costumes to ward off the spirits.

giphy[2]However, the Halloween we know today is a concoction of several different, borrowed traditions; many rituals of Halloween we see today are derived from times later than that of Samhain. In the 600s, Pope Boniface IV named November 1st All Saints’ Day to honor saints and martyrs. Some believe that picking that day was deliberately meant; they wanted to Christianize Samhain, which happened just the day before. Despite this coincidence, it is not clear if this was the intention. On All Saints’ Day, people would dress up, possibly to ward off spirits they thought were coming back from the dead. At this time, people in England went around and practiced “souling”, a practice in which they would ask for food and in return would give them a prayer for the dead. This is a possible precursor for trick-or-treating, especially because as time progressed, people would give out the soulers sweet “soul cakes”, mimicking the candy we get today. These are only possible origins for Halloween, as its true ones are not entirely certain or uncovered yet.

Works Cited:

Giphy. “Vintage Halloween.” https://giphy.com/gifs/vintage-halloween-z8UZbZzCPig2A. (accessed October 30, 2017).

Henry, Andrew. “History of Halloween.” ReligionForBreakfast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVB5rPfWPtc (accessed October 30, 2017).

Jabaji, Rawan. “Halloween.” Public Broadcasting System. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/halloween/4594/ (accessed October 30, 2017).

 

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May 17, 1954: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

May 17, 2017

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In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The decision brought an end to de jure tolerance of racial segregation. The case dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because race. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that ruled “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That ruling was used to justify segregating all public facilities, including elementary schools.

African American lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall led Linda Brown’s legal and argued that the white school she attempted to attend was far superior to her black alternative and miles closer to her home. In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court ruled the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional because educational segregation stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on African American students.


Word of the Week: Intrepid

May 3, 2017

As in: “Women were seen as intrepid frontier heroes, even goddesses in the wilderness—provided they had modern equipment” (Rugh, 2008, p.126-7).          WoW_intrepid

Rugh, S. S. (2008). Are we there yet?: the Golden age of American family vacations. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

For definitions of intrepid, consult the Oxford English Dictionary.

Whatever your plans, the Cardinal Cushing Library staff wishes you a Summer break full of intrepid adventuring!


On This Day: Studio 54 Opens

April 26, 2017

studio-54-opening[1]Studio 54, which opened its doors for the very first time on April 26, 1977. The impresarios behind Studio 54 were Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, college roommates at Syracuse University who got into the nightclub business after their first venture, a chain of steak restaurants, failed to flourish. The woman who made Studio 54 into the celebrity playground was Carmen D’Alessio, a public-relations entrepreneur in the fashion industry, whose Rolodex included names like Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. Her buzz-building turned the grand opening into a major item in the New York gossip columns, and her later efforts—like having Bianca Jagger ride a white horse into the club for her 30th birthday party—stoked the public’s fascination with Studio 54 even further. In addition to celebrities,  political figures like Margaret Trudeau, Jackie Onassis and, infamously, White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan visited the nightclub.


Word of the Week: Foetid

April 24, 2017

As in: “Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Graystone’s foetid                   WoW_Foetid

halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rock-

ing and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench

dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a night-

mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon…” (Ginsberg, 1959, p.19).

Ginsberg, A. (1956). “Howl”. Howl and other poems. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books.

For definitions of foetid, consult the Oxford English Dictionary.

Get them before their gone! Or at least back in the stacks. In honor of National Poetry Month, Howl and many other books of poetry are on display. Check one out today.


Word of the Week: Doppelgänger

April 18, 2017

As in: “Halle Berry feeds her pet, just like I do. Nicky Hilton buys leggings and so might I. Through these implied similarities, the magazines cast celebrities and readers as doppelgängers, individuals who share common life experiences” (McDonnell, 2014, p.76).headshot_mcdonnell

McDonnell, A. (2014). Reading Celebrity Gossip Magazines. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press.

For definitions of doppelgänger, consult the Oxford English Dictionary.

Join us on April 20th for the third in the Cardinal Cushing Book Talk series with Andrea McDonnell, PhD from 5-6pm. You can find the ebook version of Reading Celebrity Gossip Magazines on EBL

 

 


Cardie in the Stacks

April 12, 2017

Cardie_Apr_2017_1During Holy week, Cardie has spent time searching the stacks for information on Christian Theology @EmmanuelCollege @ec_rha