Halloween, as it is called today, is an
ancient Celtic religious festival called Samhain (pronounced
This is a very vital time to honor the "turning
of the wheel" (changing of the seasons), both for
the fertility of the land and for the people. It comes
from two words: samh (summer) and fuin (end).
Today we celebrate Samhain on October 31st,
although in ancient times there was no set calendar and
thus the festival was celebrated at different times in
different areas and usually lasted from two to five days.
Christians know this holiday as "Halloween",
or "The Feast of All Saints", originally celebrated
in February but was moved to its present date by Pope
Gregory in 835 CE.
Unlike the somber ceremonies we have come
to expect of many religious festivals today, Samhain is
celebrated with great enjoyment for all involved. Yes,
we have sadness in our hearts for those who have passed,
but we celebrate with love, respect and blessings the
time we were able to share with our loved ones, in fond
Samhain is a time "between times",
a place "between places". This is a time when
the veil is at its thinnest, when spirits of the dead
are able to "walk on this earth", returning
to join loved ones and share in the celebrations and for
us to visit the "otherworld".
This is a time to light candles to guide
the spirits of our loved ones to our homes, inviting them
to join us during this time. it is also customary to make
the favorite food(s) that our loved ones liked as an offering
of our love to them.
Costumes and decorations are to celebrate
and to scare away the negative spirits. Therefore, decorations
and costumes are many. Children would go door to door,
performing some kind of entertainment as a "treat",
such as a joke, story, song, poem, etc. in exchange for
a "treat". "Treat" for food was also
put out on porches to share with those who were less fortunate.
"Danse Macabre", also known as
the "Dance of Death", shown in history during
the Middle Ages on, consisted of dancing skeletons and
music. This is something that showed that death is not
just an ending but also a new beginning to be celebrated.
Sources: Glamoury Magic of the Celtic
Green World by Steve Blamires and Danse Macabre Dance
of Death by Gregoland.com/bones/
April 8, 2012
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