Tag: Religion Calendar

Religion Calendar, October 31

Oct. 31st marks All Hallows Eve or Halloween. PBS’ Multifaith Calendar explains:

Set on the eve of All Saints Day, in which all saints in the Christian tradition are celebrated, All Hallows Eve is a time to keep vigil and pray for the dead. Most of the current practices associated with All Hallows Eve, or Halloween — such as costumes, Trick or Treating and Jack O’ Lanterns — can be traced back to England and Ireland.

Ancient Celts believed that the boundary between the living and the dead dissolved on this day, and that evil spirits returned to cause sickness or damage crops, so they wore costumes and masks to copy and placate the dead.

Trick or Treating resembles the medieval practice of “souling,” in which poor people would go door to door, receiving “soul cake” (typically shortbread or pastry) in exchange for prayers for the dead.

Jack O’ Lanterns are related to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy farmer who tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him there by carving a cross into the trunk. In revenge, the devil cursed Jack and condemned him to forever walk the earth at night.

Oct. 28 Milvian Bridge Day

Oct. 28th marks Milvian Bridge Day — a day on which some Christians solemnly reflection on the relationship of religion and the civil government.

On October 28, 312 c.e. a battle at the Milvian (Mulvian) Bridge between Constantine and Maxentius resulted in victory for Constantine. Many traditions agree on two things – there was a vision of the Christian Cross superimposed on the sun; and the words “In This Sign, Conquer”, “In hoc signo vinces”, were experienced by Constantine. Some say it did not happen this way.

Constantine went on to become the Emperor of the Roman Empire. His experience with the Christian Way led him to make Christianity legal in the Empire. No longer were believers in Christ to be persecuted. Now the believers were recognized and honored by the imperial government.

At first seen as a great benefit to the Christian community, entanglements with the political realm and with persons of great secular power soon burdened the church with problems. Today there is debate over the relationship of Church and State and concern over the use of power to enforce religious belief and practice.