Halloween is a celebration that’s origins, along with many Christian celebrations, traditionally come from ancient Celtic festivals and is the only celebration that continues to have a purely secular background.
In an attempt to popularise Christianity and abolish paganism many pagan celebrations were taken by the church and changed to fit of Christian faith and most Christian traditions can be found to have pagan roots. Even Halloween was given a Christian twist, as the church declared 1st November all saint’s day. This allowed for the celebration of all hallows eve, the evening before all saint’s day or all hallows day which is for the celebration of the dead. It is the evening of the year which the veil, curtain or window that separates this material world and the spirit world is considered to be at its thinnest, believed to be a time when the two worlds briefly touch making contact with the deceased and communication with loved ones easiest as the connection between the two become stronger.
Halloween is celebrated during the period of the wheel of the year known as Samhain which signifies the end of the cycle of the year and naturally thins the connection between the worlds.
Traditionally new years was celebrated on 1st November which was also the first day of winter. As the wheel of the year comes to an end and as the time of the last harvest it is the last time for the family to come together to share their resources before the winter. At such time places would have been left and food offered for those loved ones that had past and an opportunity to whisper between the ever-closer material world and spirit world and honour those dead. These offerings would then have been left by the fire or by the door to welcome them as this was the night when the dead could cross the veil into this living world and walk amongst us. In allowing these souls to walk the earth and receive these offering for one night that they would be appeased to make keep the livestock alive and look after the harvested crop to last the winter.
Jack o Lanterns were lit to lead the good spirits homes the church twisted the event to fit their beliefs people began dressing up to protect them from ghosts and evil spirits, and fires built to scare off evil spirits that may damage the precious crop. The Celts believed that they could predict the future on this night which would bring comfort during the long winter nights and during the Halloween celebration would wear masks of animal head and costumes of animal skins. Large bonfires were lit to mimic the sun, helping the powers of growth and holding back the decay and darkness of the winter. Torches would be lit off this fire and taken home to light home fires to offer protection. Over time it became custom to mimic the mischievous spirit and pranks became custom as part of the Halloween celebration.
The openness of the two worlds during Halloween is truly magical and those who are naturally in tune with the spirit world may find this increases at this time when the veil is thin. As we welcome and honour loved ones it is believed that psychic abilities become heightened and they or their home may be visited by spirit energies.
However, you should choose to celebrate this wonderful time of year maybe take a moment to remember those loved ones that have set the traditions that we enjoy today.
Chrissie Rising – Taken from Our Halloween Edition Magazine 2019.