Oct 13, 2009

Really Random

Why is a Rabbit's Foot considered lucky?

Superstitions, such as a rabbit's foot being considered lucky, grow out of man's attempts to explain the unknown. When man disproves the old belief, and some still cling to the belief, it becomes a superstition.

In Western Europe, prior to 600 B.C., man considered rabbits to be sacred, because of their belief that spirits inhabited the bodies of animals, and also because of their belief that man directly descended from a select few of these animals.

Later, the ancient European Celts adopted portions of the older belief, that rabbits were sacred, and that spirits inhabited their bodies. The Celts, based upon the fact that these animals spent an inordinate amount of time in their underground burrows, held the belief that the rabbits' bodies were inhabited by numina, underground spirits with whom they communicated at very close proximity.

Another reason the Celts held the rabbit to be sacred, was because of their prowess in the field of reproduction. They believed that the numina intended for rabbits to be put upon pedestals and revered as symbols of procreation, reproduction with a high turnover rate, of health, and of prosperity.

Since the rabbit itself was considered to be lucky, it follows that any of its body parts would also be considered lucky. People selected the rabbit's foot to tote around for good luck, because of its capacity to dry quickly and its small size.

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Random Halloween Facts - Where'd the name come from?

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows’ Eve, from the Old English term eallra halgena fen meaning All Hallow' Evening, as it is the eve of All Hallows’ Day"or All Hallowmas, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day, or All Souls’ Day, observed on November 1.

In old English the word 'Hallow' meant 'sanctify'. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherians used to observe All Hallows Day to honor all Saints in heaven, known or unknown. They used to consider it with all solemnity as one of the most significant observances of the Church year. Catholics were obliged to attend Mass.

The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. The festival was celebrated on February 21, the end of the Roman year.

In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1. The Greek Orthodox Church observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

Despite this connection with the Roman Church, the American version of Halloween Day celebration owes its origin to the ancient (pre-Christian) Druidic fire festival called "Samhain", celebrated by the Celts in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Samhain is pronounced "sow-in", with "sow" rhyming with cow. In Ireland the festival was known as Samhein, or La Samon, the Feast of the Sun. In Scotland, the celebration was known as Hallowe'en. In Welsh it's Nos Galen-gaeof (the Night of the Winter Calends).

According to the Irish English dictionary published by the Irish Texts Society: "Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May. Faeries were imagined as particularly active at this season.”


Tara said...

I'd love to see a drawing of fairies in a pumpkin patch. I don't think I've ever seen one. I had a friend with a rabbit's foot, and it started to deteriorate. Yucky--and so not lucky.

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C R Ward said...

Hmm. That's an interesting idea. I'll have to pass it along to my daughter - she's the artist in the family. :-)

Benjamin Solah said...

I loved all of the history of a Halloween. I'm afraid to say that I know none of it...well until you told me.

Thanks for sharing.

C R Ward said...

Be sure and check back next week, Ben, when I investigate the Jack-o-Lantern (which were originally carved turnips). :-)