All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween is a combo of two different religious traditions. The first is the festival of Samhain celebrated by the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On that day – by our calendar November 1 – the new year was believed to begin because of the onset of winter. Herds were brought in from pasture and leases on land were renewed. The souls of those who died were believed to return and visit their homes. People set bonfires to scare any evil spirits away and even wore masks so as not to be recognized by the ghosts
The second is All Saints’ Day, when the saints of the church could be remembered, established by Pope Boniface to be celebrated on May 13. But as had been done with the appropriation of December 25th to supplant Yule festivals with the observance of Christ’s birth, so too All Saint’s Day was moved to coincide with the November 1 date and supplant Samhain. The night before, October 31, became All Hallow’s Eve.
Many churches hold All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s parties rather than Halloween/Trick or Treat parties to bring a faith element into the celebration. In my story Haunted Serenade the heroine’s daughter attends a local church’s All Hallow’s Eve party not unlike the ones our children and youth program hosted. We’d sing hymns like "I Sing A Song of the Saints of God" as part of the festivities, hold costume parades, bob for apples, eat Halloween fare and engage in activities like Trick or Treat that combined facets of Christian living with the holiday fun. Knowing they were helping children all over the world make trick or treating fun and educational for our kids.
We’d return to the church and continue our partying for All Hallow’s Eve in the fellowship hall all decked out much the way these stoops of Strivers’ Row houses in Harlem are. I continue to create Halloween wreaths for my door to put out a welcome mat for trick-or-treaters of all ages. One day I hope to return to that church and see what activities now provide the All Hallow’s Eve fun.
All the women in Anora Madison's family have lived haunted by the curse of Poor Butterfly: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, not only severing her ties with her mother Angela, but also ending her relationship with Winston Emerson, her lover and the father of her child.
Six years later, Anora comes home to make peace, but an unseen evil manifests itself during the homecoming and targets not only Anora, but her little girl Cammie.
With nowhere to run, Anora must confront the evil now trying to destroy her life. She vows to protect her daughter at all costs, but if that protection can only be found with Winston back in her life, how will Anora protect her heart?
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