The History of Halloween is quite interesting, it is a holiday that has been around for centuries and is still going strong. Halloween is one of the most popular and celebrated holidays to this day. Did you know it actually originates from about 2000 years ago with the Celtic Pagans?
Halloween holds its origins in the Celtic Pagan holiday of Samhain (pronounced sow-en). A holiday in which Celts believe the veil between the world of the living and dead becomes thin, allowing past relatives to walk the earth again on this night. Because of this they honor their dead. They do this through feasting and offerings. Leaving food and wine to their dead on their doorsteps and lighting the way for them on the road. Hence the Jack O Lantern.
It also signified the coming of winter, that our days are getting shorter and nights longer. Preparations for the long, cold winter became a central part of the communities in both a physical and spiritual way.
Samhain first began morphing into what we know as Halloween through the conversion of pagans into Christians. The church, in order to make the transition easier for pagans, kept similar traditions. In the case of Samhain they declared November 1st as All Saints Day. After this occurred, October 31st became known as All Hallows Eve.
Part of the Samhain tradition was what was called “guising”. This is when people would travel from house to house dressed in costumes collecting coins, food and wine in exchange for performing music, poetry and dance.
With the immigration of the Irish and Scottish to America they continued their tradition of “guising” or dressing up, which is now what we know as trick or treating.
Samhain is still celebrated to this day by Pagans, Wiccans and those that honor nature based practices. It is often thought of to be related to witches, and is in fact the witches new year, a powerful, magical time of year.
The history of Halloween is a colorful, magical and rich one. There are many wonderful traditions and stories behind them, if you want to read a much more in-depth article including great videos on the history of Halloween head over here.
If you are interested in honoring this holiday in a more pagan tradition, I highly recommend visiting White Magick Alchemy.
No matter how you celebrate Halloween, it has a little bit of something for every one whether it’s the treats, the tricks, the spookiness, the costumes or the honoring of the dead. Enjoy this beautiful time of year!
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