Halloween has its roots in the 2000 year old Celtic festival of Samhain. The day in which we walk between worlds and commune with the spirit world.
Halloween has become the second biggest holiday of the year, next to Christmas and while its roots are in magick and mysticism- it has quickly become a day of consumerism and indulgence.
Halloween actually has its roots in the 2000 year old Celtic festival of Samhain. This was a day in which the celts would light big fires and dress up to ward off dark spirits.
Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) marks the Feast of the Dead and also represents the old Celtic New Year which was celebrated on November 1st which is the point between Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.
This day celebrated the end of summer and the harvest, also the darkening and getting ready for the cold times ahead. This is also where the association to death comes in, as historically and currently there has always been a link between the cold weather and an increase in deaths.
In Celtic tradition it was thought that samhain was the boundary between this world and the afterlife, with access to the spirit world being more accessible in this time. Due to this mystics used this time to prophesize about the future and shared predictions for the year ahead.
The Roman empire conquered most of the Celtic land and changed the traditional celebration of Samhain to coincide with their celebrations- there are a few discrepancies on the timeline of these events, but it is thought that Feralia (a nine-day festival), was used for honoring the dead. This ran from 13–21 February. Lemuria was another traditional Roman holiday in which they performed exorcisms and banished ghosts of the dead from their homes. This was celebrated on the 9th, 11th and 13th of May.
By the 9th century Christianity was the dominant religion in Celtic lands. In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day. Which was the day to honor the dead. This was used to replace the original mystical celebration of Samhain with a more rigid and controlled Christian church-sanctioned holiday.
This day was similar to Samhain, but seemed to hold more of a fear of the dead than the celebratory essence of Samhain. All Saints Day was also known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas- this is derrived from the Middle English Alholowmesse, which means All Saints’ Day. The night before became All-Hallows Eve and then Halloween.
There was a lot of rejection to the idea of celebrating the dead in many western cultures, due to cultural connotation that death symbolises the end. However towards the end of the 19th Century celebrations of Halloween began to emerge in the US. This featured dressing up, sharing ghost stories and mischievous activities of all kinds.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, many Irish began to migrate which contributed to the celebration of Halloween. Taking from this tradition Americans started to dress up and go to houses to ask for treats which were often met by tricks for those who did not oblige.
Moving on to the current day Halloween has lost a good proportion of it cultural meaning, with corporate America using it as a day to promote consumerism and indulgence. However, we all have the power to return it to it’s original context and use it as the day in which we use our magick to ward off dark spirits, prepare for the darkness and celebrate the start of the longer nights.
Please share this article!
Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Luke Miller the author of this article, and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here