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Where did Halloween Come From?

Posted by on October 1, 2011

smoking skull jack o lantern face

Halloween

Samhain is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as ‘Sabbats’, observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans or pagans to be the most important of the four ‘greater Sabbats’.   The pronunciation of this word is hotly contested, by the way ,depending on what language you believe it was borrowed from but the common samhain pronunciation among most pagans sounds like sow ween with a not to the scottish pronunciation, I believe.  Samhain rituals vary depending on the pagan but this is the day when the veil between the worlds its thinest so it is a good day to contact spirits who have already passed on or higher levels of fairy, if you dare.

 

There are a lot more legends than there are facts about the origin of Halloween, but I will try to get to the real halloween origins and come up with some halloween history facts.  Nothing is more fun than the hallowed legends Samhain.  The history of halloween reaches far back into the celtic past to a time when society was more agrarian and the changing of the seasons was a bigger part of life.  The meaning of Halloween then was tied to the cycle of life observed in the field when plants were born in spring and died in autumn.

 

Happy Samhain is celebrated on October 31 and for those of you who don’t know what day is halloween October 31 serves for that as well.

 

What is Halloween samhain all about you may ask, celtic halloween is the pagan new year.  The catholics referred to is al all hallows eve and it was a day to celebrate the departed in your family.

 

It is known as one of the nights when the viel between the worlds thins and it it easier to access things on the other side. That is how the Samhain rituals of dressing up in scary costumes came about. They were an attempt to scare away the spirits who might appear on All Saints Day.  As with most christian holidays they started as pagan holidays that got worked into the church calendar because people were used to celebrating on that day, the origins of halloween are no different.

 

Scary halloween stories are nothing new, the early christians feared this day and the spirits that may appear but pagans embrace this time and use it to celebrate the connection between those who are here and those who have passed, but in for Samhain in Wicca many still use this day to honor their ancestors and pay respect to family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities.

 

Paganism is all about getting back in touch with the rhythm of the earth and traditionally Samhain was a time to burn what was left of the crops so the land would be fertile for the spring planting. In Ireland they would often build two bonfires and walk between them and even lead their animals behind them as a cleansing ritual and a blessing for future fertility.

 

Samhain, halloween was a beginning of the dark time of the year when men came home from war and things slowed down and rest was at hand. In the west we have lost touch with this internal rhythm and go, go, go, all the time. Then we burn out and want pills or powders to keep us going. It goes to the meaning of what halloween is all about.  I certainly wouldn’t want to live in ancient celtic times (I don’t think I would survive without the internet,) but I do think it is worth considering that life has a rhythm to it and the more we can function in harmony with that rhythm the happier we will be.

 

Halloween it kind of the kick off of the holiday season when friends and family should be cherished, even the ones who have passed. As we draw together we draw strength from each other until we are ready to expand and draw new energy into our lives at Beltane. Its a wonderful time of year and I hope you enjoy with all your friend and family both those here are those who have gone beyond.

Last modified on November 30, 2011

Categories: Magic
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