[Christine O’Keeffe’s Halloween Customs ]
Halloween - History - Monster List - Recipes - Games - Rings - E-Cards

Martinmass Customs: Grateful Dead
MacBain’s Gaelic Dictionary: gràdh: love, Latin gratus, English grateful; Sanskrit gûrdháya, praise. taingeil: thankful, grateful, kianglt booise: grateful, beholden merriu: dead men, the dead, departed souls. marroo ny hassoo: dead-and-alive

 In folktales of many cultures, the spirit of a deceased person who bestows benefits on the one responsible for burial. Theme one is a traveler who encounters the corpse of a debtor, whose burial has been denied. Theme two is a corpse whose burial is prescribed for religious reasons but prohibited by civil authorities. After the traveler arranges the burial and/or pays the debt, he goes on his way. He is joined by another traveler (sometimes in the form of an animal or, in the Apocryphal Book of Tobit in the Old Testament the Angel Raphael), who helps him in a dramatic way. In some stories the companion saves the hero’s life; in others he helps him gain a prize, or marry a snake-woman/dragoness. Then the companion reveals himself as the grateful spirit of the deceased whom the hero helped to bury. (40, 41)

Only the underlying idea is the same,—that the burial of the dead is a pious act and a sacred duty, which will meet a fitting reward. This belief is so widespread and ancient that it is not difficult to surmise how stories inculcating the duty might have grown up independently in many lands. – Gordon Hall Gerould

Next Page - Last Page - Table of Contents - Works Cited

[French Ministry of Education Site: Centre national de documentation pédagogique]Christine O’Keeffe’s Halloween Home Page
cokeeffe at geocities.com
© 1998. Christine O’Keeffe, Ver. 3.0. Friday, November 16, 2007