When it comes to words, I'm a bit of a nerd, and I love to study their origins to more fully understand their meaning. This next week the word that will be on many peoples' minds is Halloween, and in case you don't know, that word has a fascinating origin. All Saints Day, which is celebrated by many churches on November 1, was originally known as All Hallows Day. This day is set aside as an annual celebration of the saints who have gone on before us and whose lives are worthy of admiration and emulation. The evening before All Hallows Day became known as All Hallows Eve and over time All Hallows Eve morphed into our modern name for this day, Halloween.
Continuing with my fascination with words, I must note that I love the word hallow even though it is not a word that currently gets much use. Exceptions are when someone talks about the "hallowed halls" of a particular institution, most often a beloved university or school, or when someone talks about sacred ground, such as a cemetery or battlefield. For Christians, it is a familiar word because it is part of the Lord's Prayer, in the line, "Hallowed be your name."
The word hallowed, from which the word Halloween is derived, means holy or sacred. When we refer to something as hallowed, we are saying that it has special, often spiritual, significance for us. So with all the attention to Halloween this week, perhaps it is an excellent time to pause and reflect on what is hallowed or holy in our lives.
In our Living Compass wellness programs, we invite people to pause and reflect on what is most important in their lives, or how they would define their true north. We remind them that there are many compasses that are competing to guide our lives, including the compasses of our popular culture, the values of our families of origin, of our friends, our work, and our spirituality. To make our spirituality and our values our primary compass means to identify what we believe to be most holy, most hallowed, and then to align the decisions we make in our lives with those values and beliefs.
I hope you all have a "Happy All Hallows Eve" this week. I look forward to celebrating with my family, especially with my grandchildren, because not only is it lots of fun, but enjoying time with my family is hallowed time for me.
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