I’m singing ballads at this event in Manchester.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The 31st October is a date which you might notice in the diary – perhaps an evening you mark with a ghoulish costume, or by taking the children trick or treating, or even staying in and watching a film that makes you want to hide behind the sofa. Hallowe’en has been marked for centuries as the feast of All Hallow’s Eve, preceding All Souls Day in the Christian Church calendar, absorbing the Celtic festival of Samhain.

A woodcut image of Luther being played, as an instrument, by the devil. A contemporary image showing a monk (possibly Luther) as a literal instrument of the devil: popular print shows both fierce opposition and support on all sides during the Reformation. (Woodcut pasted into R9935)

This year, Hallowe’en marks an extra special date. 500 years ago, according to tradition on 31st October, Martin Luther chose this festival to publicise his complaints about the Roman Catholic Church as part of an argument for reform. His actions…

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