Samhain - The Origin of "Halloween" Samhain, the traditional Celtic holiday, literally means “summer’s end.” The Celts divided the year into two seasons, representing light and dark. The first day of each season held a celebration, with Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Samhain was an important festival, as it welcomed new beginnings and a new year for the Celts. It also symbolized a union or communality between people. Bonfires were lit by people within a village. While the bonfire blazed, villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family would then light its hearth from the common flame of the bonfire, bonding the families of a village together. Samhain Eve was a time of reflection for the Celts, and a time for honoring the dead. This particular time of year signified the final harvest, a time of gathering and preparing for winter. Often winter was a time of famine and some would not survive through the long months ahead. Samhain was a way of honoring those who had died, a celebration of the spirit remembered. It was a common belief that the “veil” between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest on the eve of Samhain. In Modern times, many have twisted this thought to evil intent, though its origin is much more honorable. The dead could return on this one night to the places where they had lived, and food and entertainment were provided in their honor. This symbolized a village existing in harmony with its past, present and future. This also led to the tradition of lighting a single candle in a window, to light the way for ancestors to find their way home. Food offerings were also left on doorsteps for the spirits (which led to our modern “trick or treating”). It was the Romans who added their “Feast of the Dead” to the celebration of Samhain. The Christians destabilized the holiday by introducing “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st, and re-naming October 31st to All Hallow’s Eve, which later became Hallowe’en. For Christians, All Saints Day celebrates the spirits in Heaven and Purgatory. It became customary to bang pots and pans together on the eve of All Saint’s Day, to let the souls in Hell know they weren’t forgotten. Samhain is also a major celebration of Wiccans, one of their eight holy Sabbats. For Wiccans, it is also a time of celebrating the past and the future to come. Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time. Though the holiday has changed over the years, its intent remains clear – it is a celebration of respect for the dead and a celebration of the new beginning that is to come. It is a holiday that commemorates the togetherness of a community. Tonia Jordan is an author on http://www.Writing.com
which is a site for Writers. She is also a stringer for the Standard Speaker, a Pennsylvania newspaper, and is editor of Word of Mouth Magazine.
By Tonia Jordan
Samhain - The Origin of "Halloween"
Samhain, the traditional Celtic holiday, literally means “summer’s end.” The Celts divided the year into two seasons, representing light and dark. The first day of each season held a celebration, with Beltane on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st.
Samhain was an important festival, as it welcomed new beginnings and a new year for the Celts. It also symbolized a union or communality between people. Bonfires were lit by people within a village. While the bonfire blazed, villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family would then light its hearth from the common flame of the bonfire, bonding the families of a village together.
Samhain Eve was a time of reflection for the Celts, and a time for honoring the dead. This particular time of year signified the final harvest, a time of gathering and preparing for winter. Often winter was a time of famine and some would not survive through the long months ahead. Samhain was a way of honoring those who had died, a celebration of the spirit remembered.
It was a common belief that the “veil” between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest on the eve of Samhain. In Modern times, many have twisted this thought to evil intent, though its origin is much more honorable. The dead could return on this one night to the places where they had lived, and food and entertainment were provided in their honor. This symbolized a village existing in harmony with its past, present and future.
This also led to the tradition of lighting a single candle in a window, to light the way for ancestors to find their way home. Food offerings were also left on doorsteps for the spirits (which led to our modern “trick or treating”).
It was the Romans who added their “Feast of the Dead” to the celebration of Samhain. The Christians destabilized the holiday by introducing “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st, and re-naming October 31st to All Hallow’s Eve, which later became Hallowe’en. For Christians, All Saints Day celebrates the spirits in Heaven and Purgatory. It became customary to bang pots and pans together on the eve of All Saint’s Day, to let the souls in Hell know they weren’t forgotten.
Samhain is also a major celebration of Wiccans, one of their eight holy Sabbats. For Wiccans, it is also a time of celebrating the past and the future to come. Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time.
Though the holiday has changed over the years, its intent remains clear – it is a celebration of respect for the dead and a celebration of the new beginning that is to come. It is a holiday that commemorates the togetherness of a community.
Tonia Jordan is an author on http://www.Writing.com which is a site for Writers.
She is also a stringer for the Standard Speaker, a Pennsylvania newspaper, and is editor of Word of Mouth Magazine.
How Much Do You Know About Halloween?
By S. Roberts
How much do you know about the spooky holiday of Halloween? As you probably know, Halloween is celebrated on the 31st October and the name Halloween descends from the old name Hallows Eve, the night of the dead. This is why children and adults alike dress up as spooky characters suck as ghosts, goblins, vampires, monsters, witches and anything that goes bump in the night.
It is also said that on this night dedicated to the dead, that there are more spiritual energies, making it a more receptive night to contact the dead, and for the dead to contact the living.
Halloween is often considered an American festivity, so it might surprise you to know that it originated in Ireland as the Pagan Celtic harvest festival Samhain. Halloween wasn't exported to America until the 19th century, when many Irish folk emigrated.
The Celts celebrated as their harvest festival because by the end of October all the hard work of harvesting the crops was over. They also saw Halloween as marking the time when the days would shorten and there would be darkness and coldness of the winter season.
Many Christians prefer to celebrate the following day, All saints day on 1st November (also know as 'All hallows' and 'All souls day') This is to avoid conflict with their religious beliefs. The word hallow means sanctify in old English, 'to free from sin'. All saints day is therefore considered to be a day of goodness.
Halloween and its festivities have now been spread to most of the western world. However, the old Halloween meaning has been lost and replaced. Nowadays Halloween is seen as a festive holiday of fun and spookiness. A time to dress up and have a fun time, maybe to go ‘trick or treating’ or to go to a spooky Halloween part. Halloween is a time to spook yourself, or maybe someone else, BOO!
S. Roberts writes for http://www.bigboystoyz.com a boys toyz website packed with gadgets, games and gizmos. Check out our spooky Halloween page at http://www.bigboystoyz.com/halloween/halloween-big-boys-toyz.htm if you publish please link to the Halloween page – Thanks
Why Do We Celebrate Halloween - The Spookiest Holiday Of The Year
By Nicola Kennedy
Halloween is full of costumes and candy, trick-or-treating and terrifying haunted houses, pumpkins and black cats. But just where did Halloween come from? Why are we celebrating?
The history of Halloween goes back 2000 years. Many believe that Halloween’s origins are found in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who were located in Ireland, the UK and the northern parts of France, celebrated their New Year on the first of November. Samhain was celebrated the night before the New Year.
The New Year, Celts believed, marked summer’s end, harvest time, and the start of dark, cold winter months. Those winter months were associated with death by these people. On October 31, the night before the New Year, the Celts celebrated Samhain. This day, they believed, was when the ghosts of the deceased returned to earth because the boundaries between the living world and the dead world blurred.
When we think of “Trick-Or-Treating”, the origins can probably be found in the English All Souls’ Day parades. During these celebrations, the poor would come out and beg for food from the more wealthy families. When the families gave them pastries called “soul cakes”, they asked for the poor to pray for their relatives that had passed away.
Another possibility that may have grown into “Trick-Or-Treating” is the tradition of people leaving bowls of food in front of their homes. They did this to keep the ghosts that were wandering the earth from entering.
Dressing in costumes has a couple possible origins. European and Celtic people both felt winter was a frightening time. It was cold, it was darker, and the possibility of running out of food was great. When they reached the time when they thought the dead returned, they thought they might encounter these ghosts whenever they left their houses. The wearing of masks and costumes grew from these people donning masks so the ghosts would not recognize them!
This holiday was brought to the US by Scotch and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. At that time, much of the “spookiness” of the holiday was removed and a sense of community and fun were added. Although scary themes are still the focus of many Halloween celebrations, that scariness is done for fun, not because of actual fear.
Halloween is currently the 2nd largest commercial holiday!
Nicola always enjoys celebrating Halloween with her family. Visit her Halloween site for tips and information about Homemade Halloween Costumes at http://Homemade-Halloween-Costumes.Best-Halloween.com
This article may be reprinted in full so long as the resource box and the live links are included intact. All rights reserved. Copyright Best-Halloween.com
By Usharani Vairam
History of Halloween, like any other festival's history is stimulated through civilization that has emerged through all ages from one generation to other generation and you can follow your previous generations as they did. Most of their innovation gets fuzzy with additions and alterations as this process goes on. It happens so slowly, straddling over so many ages, that we barely come to be familiar with about these deformations. At one point of time it leaves us puzzled,with its multihued faces. Digging more into its history assists to sieve out the facts from the fantasies which caught us unaware. The history of Halloween Day, as culled from the net, is being described here in this light. This is to help out those who are interested in washing off the superficial hues to reach the core and know things as they truly are. 'Trick or treat' may be an innocent fun to enjoy on the Halloween Day. But just think about a bunch of terrifying fantasies and the scary stories featuring ghosts, witches, monsters, evils, elves and animal sacrifices associated with it.
Halloween is a ceremonial celebrated on the night of October 31, most exceptionally by children dressing in diverse as well as striking costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets or money. It is notorious in most of the Western world, though most common in the United States, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, Irish, Scots and other refugees brought grown-up versions of the custom to North America in the 19th century. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in assorted northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian interpretation. In Mexico November 1st and 2nd are celebrated as the Day of the Dead. In Great Britain and Ireland, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on All Hallows Day (1st November). To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded Great Britain, they exaggerated the ritual with their own, which is both a celebration of the yield and of honoring the dead. Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult.
Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when the spiritual world can make contact with with the physical world and when magic is most effective. One story says that, on the day of Halloween, the ethereal feelings of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to hold for the next year. The Celts alleged all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, permitting the spirit world to amalgamate with the living. Naturally, the still-living did not want to be haunted. So on the night of October 31, villagers would snuff out the fires in their homes, to make them cold and detrimental. They would dress up in all modes of ghoulish costumes and raucously paraded around the neighborhood, being as caustic as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.
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Halloween: History And Origin
By Sean Carter
Halloween is that time of the year that's absolutely freakish and screamingly fun. A time when the line between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest and you’re sure to feel the freak and scare with ghosts, goblins, witches and werewolves prowling all around—both in their selves and in costumes. Halloween is an occasion to let loose the naughtier sides in you—playing pranks, sprucing up in freaky costumes and scaring the wits out of your folks. The chill of rib-tickling thrill, a nip of spine-chilling jitters and a good fare of full-blooded scare is at the heart of Halloween celebrations.
Now today's Halloween isn't the same as it was 2000 years ago. The history and origin of Halloween lie way back in centuries in the ancient Celtic New Year's festival, Samhain. So much so that the customs of today’s Halloween are also rooted in the ancient customs of the Celts during Samhain, which was said to mark the end of Summer. Samhain, the Celtic New Year was celebrated every year on October 31—the day, which the Celts believed, was a day of the rise of the dead, when the deceased would wander the land to possess earthly souls. To keep these spirits at bay, the Celts dressed up as ghouls and monsters and put out all lights in their homes. With that, they ventured out as mischievous and wayward undoers willfully wantoning peace and property. The Celtic priests or Druids also built bonfires on this day and offered sacrifices. The idea behind all these was, of course, to scare away the spirits of the dead and avoid being “possessed” ! Now if you're brainy enough, it won't be hard for you to guess that the modern tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween traces back to this ancient Celtic practice !
The sinister attitudes of the Celts on Samhain toned down over the ages to give way to the less menacing attributes of today’s Halloween. The playfulness and fun side of Halloween was first brought to America by the Irish immigrants around 1840. Like for instance, the popular tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween came from the Irish. This had been 'gifted' to the United States by the Irish immigrants who fled their country during the potato famine. The Irish celebration of Halloween or the Hallow E'en (evening of the Hallow), as it's called in Ireland, means All Hallows Eve, or the night before the 'All Hallows'. All Hallows Day is on November 1, and is also known as All Saint’s Day (a day to honor all the Catholic saints). ‘Hallow’ is an Old English word, meaning ‘saint’. November 2 is the All Soul’s Day—a day which honors all Christians who no longer live and were not saints. And the period of October 31 to November 2 is known as the Hallow Tide. Now, on All Hallows Eve or Halloween, the Irish beggars went asking for food or money from the rich. If refused, they were threatened to be destroyed by the evil spirits. And, of course, nobody wants to take a chance on Halloween. So soul-cakes or currant buns and candy bags chockablock with goodies were kept ready for the Halloween Day.
Sean Carter writes on holidays, events and celebrations around the world. He also writes on family, relationships, womens issues birthdays, inspiration, religion, love and friendship. He is a writer with special interest in ecard industry. He writes for 123greetings.com
By Peter Emerson
The contemporary celebration of Halloween comes from the ancient Celtic festival of `Samhain.’ It is an annual celebration observed on October 31. It is a tapered version of All Hallows Eve. Halloween came to America through the Irish, who are believed to be modern descendents of the Celts. When the potato crop failed in Ireland, they migrated to America and brought their cultural practices with them.
Halloween was also observed as a harvest festival and New Year by the Celts. It also served as a vent for high morale before the onset of winter. In fact, in the 5th Century B.C. in Celtic Ireland summer officially ended on October 31 and the Samhain was observed on this occasion.
Masks are now used as part of Halloween celebrations. There are foam latex faces of ape men, aliens, demons, devils, mummies, reptiles, skulls, swamp witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies and other scary monsters.
The ancient Celts believed that all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. This was unacceptable for living people, so on the night of October 31 villagers would put out fires in their homes to make the spirits feel discarded. They would then dress up in all manner of macabre costumes and parade around the neighborhood in order to scare away spirits looking for live bodies to possess. There is also a record of Celts flaming up people thought to be haunted, as a stern warning to the spirits. However, modern historians dismiss these as fairy tales.
Masks provides detailed information on African Masks, Feather Masks, Gorilla Masks, Halloween Masks and more. Masks is affiliated with Yoga Mats.
Halloween: an Ancient Celebration
By Michael Russell
One night, in neighborhoods across America, you will find monsters, ghosts, witches and other characters haunting houses up and down the street. October 31, Halloween, is one of the more popular holidays for children. What child wouldn't want to dress up as a monster or fairy and score a bag of candy in the process?
The origins of Halloween are ancient. 2,000 years ago in the part of the United Kingdom which is now Ireland, the Celts celebrated the beginning of their new year on November 1. As a result, October 31, or Samhain as the Celts called it, was a night to celebrate. The Celts believed that on that one night each year, the wall between the worlds of the living and the dead were easier to cross over and the barrier was thinner. Because of this, they believed that the spirits of the dead returned to the world of the living and caused all sorts of trouble and damage. Since the spirits were present on earth, the Celts believed that their priests, the Druids, were able to make predictions about the future more easily.
Since this celebration was an end to the summer and a beginning to the long, dark, cold, winter the people were hopeful if the Druids were able to make positive predictions for the hard time ahead. After the Romans conquered the British Isles, the Celtic celebration of Samhain was combined with a couple of Roman holidays. Feralia was a day that the Romans honored their dead in late October. The other holiday was in honor of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona was associated especially with the apple and because of this, the tradition of bobbing for apples may be associated with Pomona after her holiday was lumped in with Samhain and Feralia.
With the spread of Christianity, Halloween was incorporated into a new holiday, All Saints' Day, which was a day to honor saints and martyrs on November 1. This holiday was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (which is derived from the Middle English word Alholowmesse, another way to say All Saints' Day). The night before this holiday, October 31, began to be known as All-Hallows Eve and soon, just Halloween. Some time later, the church decreed that November 2 would be known as All Souls Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated much like Samhain, with bonfires, dancing, parades and dressing up in costumes. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints' and All Souls', were collectively called Hallowmas.
The way we celebrate Halloween in America, trick-or-treating, is probably related to the All Souls' Day parades in early England. At this time, the poor would beg for food. They would be given "soul cakes" in return for praying for the family's dead relatives. Eventually, this turned into children visiting neighborhood houses and being given treats such as beer, food and money.
With the new flood of immigrants in the late 1800s, the millions of Irish entering the US helped shape the celebration of Halloween. From Irish and English traditions, Americans began dressing up in costumes and going house to house asking for food or money. By the end of the 19th century, many people began to try to mold Halloween into a holiday that was more about the community and community celebrations than about spirits, pranks or witchcraft. Parents were encouraged to make the parties for their children and families less frightening and attempt to take out the fearful aspects of Halloween.
Today Halloween is the second biggest commercial holiday in America. Americans spend billions of dollars on candy, costumes and parties. Children look forward to Halloween every year, partly because they are able to dress up and be a different person or being for a night, but mostly because of the loot they receive from going door to door in their neighborhood.
Your Independent guide to Halloween
Where Did Halloween Come From?
By Hege Crowton
About 2000 years ago in the area which today is Northern France, England, Scotland and Ireland, lived the Celts. Their festival of Samhain is where the traditions of Halloween originated.
November 1, the beginning of their new year marked the end of summer and the harvest. The dark and cold winter was coming. This time of year was associated with death.
Beliefes was that on the night before the new year(October 31) the gates, between the world of the living and the world of the dead, opened. On this night it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to our world.
The night of October 31 is when they celebrated Samhain, were they sacrified crops and animals to the Celtic gods. This for the gods to protect them against the trouble caused by the dead and prevent them from damaging their crops.
Celts also thought that the precense of the spirits of the dead made it easier for the celtic priests to predict the future. Since the Celts depended entirely on the natural world these predictions were a source of comfort and direction during the winter.
To mark the day of Samhain the priests build huge bonfires for people to gather around to make their sacrifices. During this festival the Celts normally wore costumes and tried to tell each other’s fortunes.
Their costumes were normally of animal heads and skins.
Before their celebration started, the Celts “extinguished the fire in their hearts” and after it is all over they “re-lit” that fire from the sacred bonfire to protect them during the winter.
This is how it all started and how we now have what we call Halloween!
Hege Crowton is establishing herself as an expert copywriter. She is known for doing in-depth research before writing her articles. Many of her articles are posted on http://www.EzineCrow.com and she also does a lot of writing for http://www.Crowsites.com