The origin of Halloween and its traditions
July 02, 2021
Although the celebration of Halloween has become a holiday tradition in the United States, the truth is that its origins have nothing to do with America.
What is Halloween and why do we celebrate it?
Apart from the costumes and pumpkins, the origin of Halloween lies in the ancient Celtic ceremony known as SamHain (pronounced "sow-in"), meaning "end of summer", a ceremony held primarily to commemorate the end of the harvest.
This festival marked the time of the year when the days began to grow shorter and the nights longer. On this night, the Celts turned off the lights and hoped that death would not come knocking on their doors. Celtic culture encompassed various regions of the British Isles, Scandinavia and Western Europe.
How did this tradition come to the United States?
In 1846, during the Great Famine in Ireland, more than a million people emigrated to the American country, where they eventually instilled some of their traditions, such as the October 31st holiday, which became increasingly popular and is now one of the most recognisable festivals in Ireland.
What is the meaning of Halloween?
In Celtic culture, October 31st marked the end of the year. Autumn and the falling leaves symbolised the end of death and the beginning of a new life.
With the rise of Catholicism, this pagan ceremony began to be called "All Hallows Eve", which eventually evolved into what is now known as "Halloween".
While it is true that today's celebration of this ceremony has lost the essence of what it once was, it still retains many common practices.
Bonfires, rituals, pumpkins and sweets.
During the SamHain celebration, it was customary to leave food and sweets outside the house as an offering. On the other hand, it was common to leave lighted candles to guide the spirits of the dead to find their way to the light. These practices are still celebrated today.
Halloween and the witches
The date of 31 October is also known as the Night of the Dead or the Night of the Witches. Legend has it that they gathered in covens twice a year, on 30 April and 31 October. On this last day of the year their satanic powers were at their peak. Hence the rites of Halloween and the Celtic end of the year have been mixed with the celebration of their rites.
But ... Were witches as today's society portrays them?
If you want to know more about the world of witches and the knowledge of pagan women, don't miss our WITCHES documentary.
If after watching our documentary, you want to know in depth the historical truth of the witch phenomenon, subscribe to our online course "Witches: The Knowledge of the Healing Woman".