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What are the origins of halloween?
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Solstice Moon



Joined: 31 Aug 2008
Posts: 272
Location: Horsham, W Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:57 pm    Post subject: What are the origins of halloween? Reply with quote

We all know of the festival of halloween. Of carving lanterns out of pumpkins, trick or treating, and dressing up as "scary" creatures, but what are the origins of this?

Well, halloween itself is short for "all hallows eve", the night before All hallowmas (old English for All saints day). When christianity first took hold on Britain, people would celebrate the individual saints day, with little work being done. The authorities thought this a jolly bad thing, and decided to cut back on the individual celebrations by making one day "All Saints day".

So it's a Christian festival? Well, not quite.

Before the Christians, the Romans were around. They had two celebrations about the same time. the festivals of Feralia, and of Pomona. Feralia was a day for commemorating the passing of the dead, and Pomona was the goddess of fruit and trees.

So it was Roman? Nope!

Before the Romans, were the Celts. The celtic new year, known as Samhain, was November 1st*. It was believed that the night before new year the boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred, and the deceased would return to earth generally making a nuisance of themselves. It was also thought that this made fortune telling easier, so samhain became a traditional time for telling peoples fortunes too.

Another part of the celebrations was a large sacred bonfire (partly to scare away evil spirits, and partly to warm the sun for the coming months), and dressing up in animal skins. After the festivities people would relight their home fires from the sacred one, giving them protection over the coming winter months.

So, where does this leave us? Originally we had a bonfire (now on 5th november*)and dressing up in animal skins, whilst the dead returned to the earth. The Romans continued the celebration of the dead, and also of fruit (apple bobbing anyone?) and finally the Christians came along and used the same date for their new festival (whilst retaining the death bit the night before)


So, Jack o Lanterns? Originally these were hollowed out turnips, with faces carved into them, to commemorate an Irish villain known as jack.

Trick or treating? Well, several possibilities, an irish tradition of beggars collecting in preparation for the festival of St. Columb Kill, there was a Christian practice of begging for soul cakes in exchange for prayers, and also a Celtic one whereby to prevent the spirits causing mischeif, people used to give food to visiting Druids.

I've probably made some errors or omissions, so please feel free to point them out :)


* I'm pretty sure, though can't find evidence, that Samhain was originally a non fixed date, and rrelated to the moons position. This meant that it would usually take place sometime either very late october, or first week of November.
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bitterbuck1
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting read Moon.
Thanks.

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roseanna



Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very interesting thanks.

What I also find fascinating is how Halloween has today become commercialised - for kids! You know, parents buying costumes of ghouls and witches (probably just to keep up with their neighbours like at Christmas), but since the festival does have some really dark elements to it, it's hardly ideal for tiny tots is it? Like I saw a devil costume with pitchfork recently in my local supermarket - just seems a bit inappropriate to me, that's all. Maybe I'm too old-fashioned! Shocked

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flossy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

its fun for the kids tho, i would rather they had a little fun than get scared for one night lol
when i was younger my mum used to tell us scary tales and scare us half to death Laughing
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onthink



Joined: 04 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

are we still talking about it?

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YB
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feel free to jump right in onthink Very Happy
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Aiden



Joined: 11 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't have to believe in SB, but her book says some cool things about Halloween.
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damaralenoire



Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Posts: 334
Location: South Wales UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aiden wrote:
You don't have to believe in SB, but her book says some cool things about Halloween.




Could you elaborate on some of t he things she says about Halloween for us, I am not one for buying books unless I know that what they are about is legitimate and written by genuine people

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Benjamin Barker



Joined: 23 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well written Solstice Moon. Everytime I thought you had missed something out, you went and put it in ha. Good summary for those who didn't know.

My perspective of the meaning of halloween to kids, I gladly dress mine up every year, and put as much effort in as they do. I do explain partially the meaning behind it, but mainly it's just dress up for them. I also explain what people believe about ghosts, goblins and the boogeyman. Then its their choice what they believe after that.

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scottaleger



Joined: 07 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read Browne's Contacting Your Spirit Guide. This was really an interesting book. You never get bored with reading this book.
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