Halloween itself is wearing a mask, because it’s actually an ancient year-end spiritual ritual in disguise.

Sociologist Charles Emmons says, “Halloween has gone through two major transformations since its beginning at least 3,000 years ago as an ancient European folk festival to a Christian folk festival and now a modern, pop culture holiday.” Prior to changes in our modern calendar, Halloween took place at the end of the year in conjunction with the winter solstice. In the evening, people would light bonfires and set out food to welcome back the spirits of the beloved dead and dress up as ghosts and goblins to scare away unwanted spirits.
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Halloween comes halfway point between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. Celts (as well as traditional Japanese culture) considered equinoxes and solstices to be the middle of a season. On the equinoxes, the sun rises due east and sets due west. During the summer solstices, the sun rises the furthest to the northeast and sets furthest in the northwest, whereas in winter it rises the furthest southeast and sets in the southwest. This has to do with how the earth tilts on its axis. But how did this ever get to be a day to celebrate the dead?
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This year, we’re celebrating Halloween with a special reading by Whitley Strieber of his classic story, Falling Apart. This story, which appears in the anthology Evenings with Demons, is some sort of a horror classic?or is that humor? To listen, click on “Listen Now” on the right side of the masthead. A downloadable version will be available to Unknowncountry.com subscribers within 24 hours. If you have trouble listening, click on the red “Listening Problems” link below the “Listen Now” link. “Falling Apart” lasts 14 minutes.

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.read more

Tonight the moon will be full and the Seven Sisters at the top of the sky. This is the first Halloween since 1955 that there has been a full moon, and will be the last until 2020.

At midnight, the moon will be directly overhead with the Pleaides. It will reach the moment of complete fullness at 12:41 AM EST.

The current position of the Pleaides is associated in some cultures with great calamities.
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