Posts Tagged ‘devils’

What are the symbols of Halloween?

Oct
30
Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time encompassing customs of medieval holy days as well as contemporary cultures. The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips, became adapted into the making of jack-o'-lanterns. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark. The American tradition of carving pumpkins preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 1800s. The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely a mix of the Halloween season itself, works of Gothic and horror literature, in particular the novels Frankenstein and Dracula, and nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and British Hammer Horror productions, also a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, evil, the occult, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include the Devil, the Grim Reaper, ghosts, ghouls, demons, witches, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies, skeletons, black cats, spiders, bats, and crows. Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films (which contain fictional figures like Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy). Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. They are said to be used to scare off demons. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows, movies, and other pop culture icons. The colours black and orange are associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the colour of fire, autumn leaves, or pumpkins.

What is the devil?

Oct
10
The Devil is believed in certain religions and folklore to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The Devil is commonly associated with heretics, infidels, and other unbelievers. The Abrahamic religions have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin or commit evil deeds. Others regard the Devil as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment. In mainstream Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans, with the Devil seeking to lure people away from God and into Hell. The Devil commands a force of evil angels, commonly known as demons. The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (Ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind. Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure that is similar to the Devil. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that it symbolizes humans' own lower nature or sinfulness. People put the concept of the Devil to use in social and political conflicts, claiming that their opponents are influenced by the Devil or even willingly supporting the Devil. The Devil has also been used to explain why others hold beliefs that are considered to be false and ungodly. The name 'Devil' derives from the Greek word diabolos, which means 'slanderer' or 'accuser'. Some religions worship the Devil. This can be in a polytheistic sense where "God", Satan, and others are all deities with Satan as the preferred patron; or it can be from a more monotheistic viewpoint, where God is regarded as a true god, but is nevertheless defied. Some variants deny the existence of God and the Devil altogether, but still call themselves Satanists, such as Anton LaVey's Church Of Satan which sees Satan as a representation of the primal and natural state of mankind. Much "Satanic" lore does not originate from actual Satanists, but from Christians. Best-known would be the medieval folklore and theology surrounding demons and witches. A more recent example is the Satanic ritual abuse scare of the 1980s – beginning with the memoir Michelle Remembers – which depicts Satanism as a vast (and unsubstantiated) conspiracy of elites with a predilection for child abuse and human sacrifice. This genre regularly describes Satan as actually appearing in person in order to receive worship.