Halloween

🏷  English Semitic festival pun · name   —   by Gerry · Sep 2021 · 623 words

The Halloween festival, shortened from All Hallow’s Eve, is celebrated with masking and playing pranks. The spooks also like to stage fake events on this date. There are several puns which explain this: In English, All Hallow’s Eve[ntide] puns with all-hollow event. In Hebrew, lyl kl h-qdšym “eve of all holy [people]” puns with lyl klh gdšym “eve of veiled events”. Finally, Hebrew ḥll “hollow” also means “fabrication” / “fiction” / “confusion”.

English pun with “all-hollow event”

In English, All Hallow’s Eve puns with an “all-hollow event”. It’s not a perfect pun, but with modern languages & scripts, those are hard to achieve. Eve in the sense of evening can also be written as eventide, which would make it even closer.

English hallow = holy person; hollow = empty, without substance, insincere, invalid

hallow : a saint; a holy person; an apostle; the relics or shrines of saints or non-Christian gods — English (Wikt)

hollow : having an empty space or cavity inside; without substance; having no real or significant worth; meaningless; insincere, devoid of validity; specious — English (Wikt)

English eve, eventide = evening, about to happen; event = happening, occurrence

eve : the day or night before, usually used for holidays, such as Christmas Eve; (archaic, poetic) evening, night; (figuratively) the period of time when something is just about to happen or to be introduced — English (Wikt)

eventide : evening — English (Wikt)

event : an occurrence; something that happens; a prearranged social activity (function, etc.); an end result; an outcome (now chiefly in phrases) — English (Wikt)

Hebrew pun with “eve of veiled events”

The modern Hebrew word for “Halloween” is ליל כל הקדשים lyl kl h-qdšym “evening of all holy [people]”. Halloween is not a Jewish festival though, so if there is a Hebrew pun at all, it must have been introduced by Northern European spooks who spoke Hebrew.

Generally, the Hebrew word קדש qdš qadesh “holy” puns with Aramaic גדש gdš gadesh “event”. Since Halloween is actually about “holy” things, but is used by the spooks for their fake “events”.

As for the fake-ness, it could be a pun of כל kl “all” with Aramaic כלה klh for “veil” & “canopy”, which is a relatively rare word, so I’m not sure if many lesser spooklings know it today. They probably go more often by the English pun.

Hebrew, Aramaic qdš = holy, gdš = event, incident, happening, occurrence

קדש qdš : to be holy, be sacred; set apart, consecrated; forbidden; hallowed, sanctified — Hebrew (Klein)

גדש gdš : to happen, to occur; to bring about; to be brought about; to happen — Aramaic (CAL)

ܓܕܫܐ gdšˀ : incident, event, achievement; fortune, chance, contingency; symptom; heap — Syriac (Wikt)

Hebrew, Aramaic kl, kll = all; klh, klwl = veil, curtain, canopy

כלל ; כל kl ; kll : all, every one — Hebrew (Jastrow)

כלה klh : veil; curtain; canopy or enclosure; insect net; apron — Aramaic (CAL)

כלול klwl : veil — Aramaic (CAL)

כלה klh : mosquito netting; curtained bed, canopy — Hebrew (Klein)

Cross-language pun

There may also be a cross-language translation pun, but these seem to be rare, so I’m not sure.

There’s a Hebrew word root ḥll meaning “hollow”, and it sounds almost like English hollow. That word root has the derivations “fabrication” / “fiction” / “confusion”, so it fits the spooks’ “hollow” events. It even seems related to ḥwl , which means “occurrence”, i.e. an event.

Hebrew, Aramaic ḥll = hollow, fabricated, fiction, confusion; ḥwl = occur

חלל ḥll : cavity, empty space, hollow; throat; inside; intricacy, devices — Hebrew (Jastrow)

חול ḥwl : to move in a circle, whirl, dance, to fall, occur — Hebrew (Klein)

חליל ḥlyl : hollow; empty, devoid of meaning — Aramaic (CAL)

חלילה ḥlylh : fiction, fabrication — Aramaic (CAL)

חלל ḥll : to lose, profane, defile; pollute, violate, make common — Hebrew (Klein)

חלחלה ḥlḥlh : disarray, confusion — Aramaic (CAL)

🏷  English Semitic festival pun · name