Thursday, October 31, 2013

The History of Halloween - A Harvest Day Special

Alright everyone! Last week, as you might recall, my family and I moved from New York all the way to Utah, so during that week I didn't have much time to get a whole lot of writing done and therefore couldn't write the “movie updates” I like to write. This week was much less busy and so I got to write them, and there are A LOT of updates. Without further ado, let's get started!

It is: Harvest Day! (Aka Halloween, aka "Free Candy Night" in actress Cozi Zuehlsdorff's own words)
It is: 28 days till Thanksgiving
It is: 58 days till Christmas
It is: 65 days till New Years

Now it's time for movie updates! Anyone who's been following this blog for a while now will know I've been giving updates for several movies: Dolphin Tale 2, Jurassic World (formally Jurassic Park IV), The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory and Inside Out just to name a few.

To my knowledge, there hasn't been any news for The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out and Finding Dory, but while Dolphin Tale 2 hasn't revealed many updates lately, there are many photos they've put on the internet that were taken during production (they're filming in Florida at the moment). Here are some photos I've found:
Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Winter, Hope and a few trainers at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Nathan Gamble (left) and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (right) at Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the Dolphin Tale 2 set
Notice in the previous paragraph, I did say “many updates”. The people making Dolphin Tale 2 have released an update I have yet to mention – alongside the returning cast from the first movie (Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Winter and etc) and Hope the dolphin, we'll also see the cameo appearance of a well-known disabled person. Being a human, she didn't loose her tail like Winter did, but she lost something that's worth much to a human being – her left arm. Pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton, (who was portrayed in the movie based on her story called Soul Surfer by Annasophia Robb) is going to be in the movie! She lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was only 13 years old. This girl is now married and will appear alongside Winter. Cool!
Bethany Hamilton swimming with a dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Jurassic World wasn't releasing news for a while . . . and then what happens? They quite literally dump, and I mean dump, tons of updates on us! Isn't it great? So what's new with Jurassic World? No news on plots, characters or what dinosaurs will be appearing, but the people working on the movie (Universal Studios) has finally revealed some of the cast members for the film. So, who was chosen to be “wrangling” (or more appropriately: “running from”) dinosaurs in Jurassic World along with Bryce Dallas Howard? Well, earlier this month, the studio revealed that their second confirmed actor for Jurassic World is a kid-actor by the name of Ty Simpkins. He may be only 12, but he's already been in several popular movies such as Pride and Glory, Revolutionary Road and Iron Man 3 (don't ask me for my opinion on these films, because I haven't seen any of these three). And as if this news wasn't enough, a few days later we got another confirmed cast member: say hello to Nick Robinson! In the film, he's going to be portrayed Ty Simpkin's brother. Although what characters will be in the film is unknown, fans of the Jurassic series are quick to get speculative. Other rumored cast members for the film are Josh Brolin, David Oyelowo and Jake Johnson is being considered for a role.
Ty Simkins will appear in Jurassic World.

But that's not it! There's also been talk about the possibility of returning characters; Jeff Goldblum, who portrayed the chaoticianist Ian Malcolm, might reprise his role. Laura Dern, who plays Ellie Sattler, is also a potential candidate for a reprise. But due to a recent interview with this actress, this might be unlikely. I'll post more news on the upcoming Jurassic World when it comes up!

Now it's time for my latest article. Since today is Harvest Day (more often called “Halloween”), I've decided to rerun an article I did last year. The article has some slight grammatical and information changes, but the message and overall topic is still the same. Please enjoy:

Many are very excited this time of year. Not about Christmas or Thanksgiving, but another “holiday” coming much sooner than that: Halloween! Stores all over the country make millions (if not billions) of dollars every year on Halloween decorations and costumes, the only holiday that makes more money is Christmas. Now only do they make money on costumes and decorations, but they also make money on candy, tons and tons of candy. They also have those creepy tours through those supposedly “haunted houses”. “The gorier the better” seems to be today’s slogan of Halloween. Over the years, costumes and decorations have become creepier and gorier. On my Dad’s way to work, he passes a house with at least . . . say, 20-40 decorations (I’m not exaggerating) ranging from eerie skeletons that appear to be rising out of the ground to a GIANT inflatable black cat, to an inflatable horse and headless rider (the rider is carrying his head under his arm). One of those big inflatable cats can be worth $40 by itself, and they have a bunch of things like that in their yard, so they probably have well over $100 of decorations in their yard.

Here are several people attending a Halloween-themed event.
Now, being a born again Christian, my family and I don’t celebrate Halloween. Some Christians do celebrate Halloween, but I really don’t condone it. When we talk something positive about this day, we call it “Harvest Day”. Should Christians really be celebrating this holiday? What is a Christian to do on October 31st? Well, that is what this post wishes to tackle. So please continue reading to learn more about this holiday you never knew (by the way, Halloween is not an official holiday, contrary to popular belief).

I firmly believe that in order to address and tackle an enemy, we must know something about it. The same applies to evil “holidays”. So let’s take a look at its history and see how not harmless some of those Halloween traditions are.

Now where did Halloween begin? Well, there are many ancient cultures that have days very similar to Halloween. These cultures range from Ireland to Mexico (the Mexican version of Halloween is called, “The Day of the Dead”). Now if there were only a few places around the world that have Halloween-like events, then it would be considered “coincidental”, but with so many different cultures around the world celebrating Halloween-like “holidays”, it’s unlikely that they all just coincidentally are similar, no, it’s way older than you think!

Some tell you that Halloween-cultures started a few thousand years ago, but really, the world’s human population was already spread apart by that time, so it is more likely that its origins are older than that. They probably route back to a time when the world’s human population was in one location. And there’s one and only one time after the Flood when the world population was together – right after Noah’s Flood and before Babel, around 4,300 years ago! That’s old! How can we even assume that? Well, the Flood of Noah killed a whole lot of people. Only eight people survived – Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. From them, the human population came, including everyone on the planet today. Now considering Noah and his family probably lost a lot of relatives who failed to listen to God’s warning, they must have been a little sad. Perhaps the people living right after the Flood made a special event to remember those souls lost in the waters (of course this is just speculation since the Bible says nothing about this “remembrance day”). Another theory deals with Noah’s wife. Noah’s wife isn’t mentioned in the Bible a little while after the Flood. We don’t know for sure, but perhaps this is because she died soon after the Flood. We know in that portion of the Bible that people lived hundreds of years at a time, so Noah’s generation (which at this time only would have consisted of him and his wife) would have lived to see their children grow up to have children of their own, and have grandchildren and great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren and so forth. So it could be that after having many great, great, great . . . grandchildren, Noah’s wife died and her grandkiddies held a special “remembrance day” for this woman.

We may never know exactly where this “holiday” began, but either way, after leaving the Tower of Babel as described in Genesis, people would have taken the “remembrance day” culture with them as they traveled the globe, but as they did so, they did some tweaking to this day as we’ll see in a minute.
Flashing to the bit more recent time of more than 2,000 years ago, the Druids, or Celtic people of Ireland, Great Britain, France had morphed this “holiday” a lot. These people had elaborate and religious pagan festivals, one of the most important was the Fire Festival called Samhain (it’s pronounced sow-en, nothing at all like it’s spelled, is it?) that was observed in harvest time. Now the Celtic people had a lot of strange beliefs, one of which was that on this particular night, the barrier between natural world and the supernatural world was removed and the spirits of the dead can roam among us in the form of ghosts. This event was nowhere near as “fun and lighthearted” as today’s Halloween, but this is where the “spooky version” of it originated.
These folks have a serious case of "Halloween-gydus"
Halloween wasn’t all paganized though. Actually, early Christians made their own “Halloween” day . . . sort of. The customs of this day were Christianized in 835 A.D. when Pope Gregory IV decided to dedicate a day to the believers who had died. This day was called “Feast of All Saints” and was originally in the spring but was moved to November 1st to replace Samhain. The day before “Feast of All Saints” was called “All Hallow’s Eve” and was a sacred vigil in church. Apparently, “All Hallow’s Eve” was too long for most, so it was shortened to “Hallow’s Eve”, then to “Hallow’en” and today most of us just write (or type in my case) “Halloween”. So we have two “holidays” that are somewhat similar: Samhain, a 100% pagan thing and “All Hallow’s Eve”, a Christian-type remembrance. Which one do you think is the one that stuck around?

If you guessed Samhain, you’re wrong! Today’s Halloween is a mixture of Samhain AND “All Hallow’s Eve”. But there’s more to the story than that. The knocking on door thing was started in the British Isles where people in masks would go from door to door putting on a simple performance to earn (what else?) food and drink! Many times these shows had Christian themes. (Keep in mind I did say, “many times”. Some of these people would simply go up and ask for something and then if they got it they’d bless the house, if they didn’t they’d curse the house) So how did we get from putting on a show to earn food to simply knocking on a door and yelling, “Trick or treat!”?

Well that story started back when Irish and Scottish folks brought Halloween customs to America in the 19th century (Halloweens much more complex than you thought, isn’t it?). On Halloween night, “some” vandals (a lot, actually) started doing “cute” pranks and mischief. These folks did things like soap windows, tipping outhouses and yanking doors off their hinges (doesn’t sound very “cute” to me!). These were said to have been the work of mischievous ghosts, goblins and witches. When we reached the 1920’s though, these jokes weren’t very humorous at all! This is why Halloween is the policeman’s least favorite day of the year, they have to always stay on their toes! The vandalism was getting worse. So community clubs such as Boy Scouts decided to help the situation. They decided it would be a good idea to have children going from door to door and yell, “Trick or Treat!” as soon as the door was opened. This would keep those vandals away. It didn’t take long to catch on, by the 1930’s it was a popular Halloween activity. So this type of Halloween wasn’t bad. It was fun, playful, and entertaining. It wasn’t bad at all . . . yet!

As we all have noticed over the years, costumes get more and more gory and horrific. And the Samhain part of Halloween has started to come out. Ghosts, goblins and witches (along with their witch craft) is creeping out and haunting like they did 2,000 years ago. However, unlike the legend, they don’t really haunt the earth, except in the form of imaginations. Today’s Halloween, a “holiday” initially supposed to be a Christian day, is a day filled with spooky, creepy paganism that deals with the souls of those who’ve died. Now you know exactly how bad Halloween really is and why my family doesn’t celebrate!

Some of you might be asking yourselves, “What’s so bad about witchcraft?” (Supposed ghost encounters is a whole other topic, I’ll talk about that later). Think my talk on this subject is cheap? Well, God’s talk is definitely not cheap! God Himself speaks against paganism and witchcraft in the books of the Law (the first five books of the Bible). Yes, witches are also not new, they were around 3,000 years ago, about the time of Moses. . . . So as you can see, God warned us not to follow paganism, as harmless as it seems, it has a much, much deeper meaning to it. It’s all in Satan’s evil plot to get people away from God. As I’ve expressed in previous posts, Satan is very real indeed! There is a Heaven and Hell.

A lot of people don’t know this, but Satan is really an expelled angel who used to live with God. In the book of Ezekiel, we read that his voice was like that of a beautiful instrument. However, when Satan got prideful, he was banished. Believe me, Satan is no joke, he’s got lots of power. However, being his Creator, God has even MORE power. Satan really wants to lure people away from God and Halloween is just one of those times he uses to do this, in the form of “harmless” witchcraft, fake devils (by the way, Satan doesn’t have horns, a pointy tail and pitchfork either), ghosts, goblins and skeletons. Even things that really aren’t bad are used a lot on this day, such as black cats, bats, spiders and crows. None of these animals are bad at all. So seriously, what’s a Christian to do on this evil “holiday”?

Talk about creepy!
Well, there’s lots to do! First of all, one option is to pray for all those poor lost souls engaged in this paganism. Another thing you can do is along with your candy, give out Bible tracks. Kids will take just about anything if there’s candy involved. If you don’t feel like the whole “trick-or-treaters” thing (or even if you do), you can go to your church and help out with your church’s Halloween, or rather, “Harvest Day” event. If your church doesn’t have this event planned, you should inquire about it (and if it’s too close to the date, simply suggest it for next year). Beware, Satan is out to stop all lost souls from God’s Holy Word. But together, and with God’s help, we can use this pagan “holiday” to reach more lost souls and lead them to God by telling them about Jesus’ message of salvation!

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