35 Comments

This is so interesting and informative! I, too, love the three-day celebration of Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls. I see Halloween, especially our modern trick-or-treating tradition, as an opportunity to face the darkness with togetherness and banish fear. I love the idea of spending some time with the older traditions of these three days in order to consider deeper meanings that may be in line with human needs.

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This is a wonderfully informative post, Kristin! I so appreciate the way you present the liturgical calendar alongside world history, while always being respectful of folkways. This statement is absolutely perfect:

"When looking at the history & heritage of these feasts, I like to approach them with curiosity & humility - and an awareness that none of us has a truly definitive, clear view of what life or motivation in these historical periods was really, truly like experientially, since we’re peering through the veil of time."

I, too, approach customs with curiosity and humility. As I get older I recognize I will never have enough time to gain all of the knowledge required to fully comprehend 'what came before me.' Instead, I try to learn as much as I can and interpret information based on my knowledge at the time. The Hallowmas mystery -- how exactly it came to be in its current incarnation -- is wonderfully interesting!

Thank you for sharing a brief history of the many theories -- this is a topic near & dear to my heart. ♡

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My brief foray into more evangelical churches where Halloween is feared as satanic showed me how much we miss when we leave the knowledge and history of tradition behind. This is such a rich time of year. Harvest festivals are fun but they miss the big picture. Researching about my ancestors and visiting the sacred places they are buried in this time of year is incredibly comforting. Love everything about this post--even the mentioning of hospitality. Something I’m grappling with right now.

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Oh how I wish we lived near each other so I could take my children to visit your farm! I mentally transported there as I read your introduction!

I love all of the information in here! I agree there is no way of knowing how all of this overlapping works. But there is so much to that has been combined over the years, like how the ancient celts used to dress up and leave out treats to ward off the “evil” faeries…the veil thinning and our ability to be closer to the dead, etc…. I think the church is a great starting point, as you shared, and there is just so much more to dive into to get to know our roots so to speak, and take what parts resonate for us. No matter what it is a time to reflect on our own lives, prayer for loved ones lost and also enjoy some candy (ha!)!

Can’t wait to see what else you share for this month! 🤍

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Feb 29Liked by Kristin Haakenson

I have always loved owls

This is lovely

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

The Eastern Church (Orthodox Church) still does celebrate All Saints Day the Sunday after Pentecost. We don’t have one particular All Souls Day, but there are several Soul Saturdays set aside to commemorate the reposed, and every Saturday is dedicated to all souls (in much the same way that every Sunday is dedicated to the Resurrection). This makes it trickier to tie Halloween celebrations to October 31. I’m enjoying learning from my Western Christian brothers and sisters on how they keep the feasts!

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Oct 30, 2023·edited Oct 30, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

After wanting to restack a sentencer from every paragraph.. I decided I needed to chill out and maybe just react with a comment..

I've learned so much here. Perhaps too much to process at once! But I'm grateful and will be thinking of what it looks like to incorporate the true triduum of this time of year into my life. It may be as simple as verbally recognizing it and praying through it this year as I'm reading this the day before Halloween, but I'm excited about what this has shown me. The liturgical calendar is so much more rich than I've truly realized.

Also, that first photo of your family's pumpkin patch.... wow! What a beaut! My wife and I are on a decent sized chunk of land now and my wheels are spinning as to what we could really do with it.

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Kristin, this is such a well-rounded capsule of information and makes me wish everyone would read the actual facts about the origins of current Hallowe'en celebrations. Well, what the celebrations

c o u l d be, I should say.

I've been an Evangelical Christian for 45 years and only in the last ten years or so, through a mututal PNW friend and writer, have discovered the richness of the liturgical calendar. Your reflections, poetry and artwork add all the more loveliness to it!

I happened upon your Substack via a recommendation on a podcast with Tsh Oxenreider (The Commonplace) and am so pleased to have found you. ((awkward wave....we're 40 minutes away on the 405)).

{By the by, I subscribed and wanted to take advantage of the free printable for subscribers. Alas, it seems the link was broken.... just an FYI.}

I look forward to more Hearthstone Fables.

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I love Halloween and the dark autumn and winter seasons. While I am very interested in Christian history, I lean more to pre-Christian "pagan" traditions and practice (raised Lutheran, then lived in strongly Catholic and later Buddhist and Hindu cultures) in my personal faith. I honor the change of seasons, the harvest, and the framework which Christianity later built upon. I've also had a lot of personal experience (of my own and from my mother) with the supernatural, and am very in touch with those aspects of the seasons, as well.

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Oct 13, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

This was so helpful! I’m looking forward to celebrating the entire season this year. Not in the secular way, but in this traditional, reverent way. It all makes sense in context.

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Nice piece, thanks. In my researching for November, I did notice that in the 1962 English Benedictine breviary, they had All Benedictine Saints on 13th and All Benedictine Souls on 14th November. The only modern one I have is the Solesmes Congregation; they still have All Benedictine Saints but on 8th November. No Benedictine Souls day, though, which is a shame.

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Such beautiful ideas that add so much more meaning to this time of year.

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

This is such a beautiful, nuanced perspective. I so appreciate how you’ve woven in superstition, hospitality, and historical curiosity. We’ve so much to learn from Hallowe’en.

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

I’m interested in supporting your work but I can’t access the link.

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Wonderful resource! Job well-done✍️❤️

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deletedOct 21, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson
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